PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Students are getting a first-hand look at what it's like to be an officer of the law -- a first of its kind partnership between the Department of Public Safety and Northern Arizona University.
While being a student and being an officer of law enforcement may have their differences, they also have their similarities, mainly, both never stop learning.
That's why when the DPS partnered up with NAU to encourage students to pursue a career in law enforcement, it was a perfect match.
"They have the crime lab, they have mechanics, they have IT jobs that are available, they were a natural partner for us to be able to help our students transition into a job in law enforcement," Dr. Cindy Scott said.
NAU's Dr. Scott says by reaching potential officers earlier in life, they can help avoid some of the common hurdles that often prevent a career in law enforcement, like failing a background check.
"We found that by partnering with the high schools, particularly their law, we could reach these kids before they were 16, before they made just honestly silly decisions," Dr. Scott said.
The students can't get enough from the K-9 unit to a simulated active shooter situation. The hands-on experience is invaluable.
"I was sweating, I was already nervous, I didn't know what to expect," Martha Sarabia said.
With encouragement, commitment, and a thirst to be better than before, program coordinators and students hope the partnership will continue for many years.
"Each class that I've taken, they've taken us to field trips and take us to different facilities to see where we fit in, to see where our passion is at and this one, it's the begging and I'm already enjoying it," Rosemary Rivera said.