"The Ferris State Criminal Justice Program", is an episode of Beyond the Campus, a 30-minute broadcast on the Ferris Access Channel that aired in April of 2008. The theme was law enforcement students and what their program is about. The broadcast also mentioned that the host, Dean Michelle Johnston of the College of Education, oversaw the Criminal Justice school and the Television Production program equally on campus.


Academy induction rationale

The show began with Michelle introducing herself and the students from the Criminal Justice program at Ferris State. She explained to the audience that all the guests on the show were seniors. They shared a joke that the two of Michelle's departments that were "coming together" for the show "both shoot, but hopefully this time, it doesn't hurt as much."

Patrick Williams then initiated the interviews of the show by explaining that he chose the Criminal Justice program after one of his friends' fathers became a sheriff's deputy. Amanda furthered the first set of questions by stating that she got interested in the program after doing some volunteer work in her home town. Krista stated that her desire for being a cop began in her senior year of high school, and that she had been following that aspiration through ever since.

Next, Michelle inquired as to why the three chose Ferris. Patrick stumbled to find an answer, eventually letting Amanda talk. Amanda explained that during her junior year in high school, she took a trip to Ferris and became intrigued when she learned that she could end up with a bachelor's degree in law enforcement in a fairly short period of time. She also stated that she was intrigued that the police academy lasts for a year rather than just 16 weeks, and that she could get a job as a cop almost right out of college.

When Michelle inquired of Patrick what the prime inspiration was for the particular model that the Ferris program is based upon, he stumbled for an answer. Also stumbling for an answer, Krista elaborated on what Patrick was attempting to say by claiming that the college was receiving positive reviews about performance from its police academy, hence the desire by the original founders of the school's police academy to establish high standards which would ensure further positive reviews for years to come. Multiple times, the buzzwords "tradition of excellence" were used by both Michelle and Krista.

Life in the Ferris police academy

Amanda proceeded to elaborate on what life is like typically for students in the academy. She made note of the variety of instructors in that field, and the resultant clashes of personality that the students have to be willing to adapt to.

For drills, she explained how teamwork is learned through dividing the students into teams that later assemble as a squad, which join other squads to form units. Frequent interactions are required to resolve the challenges that are given in drills.

Michelle asked what the "operational guidelines" are, and Patrick explained that the academy itself thought up the guidelines. New recruits are given a booklet full of guidelines very quickly after orientation. Amanda elaborated further on the role of squad commanders.

Patrick answered the next question, informing the audience of the benefits of the leadership positions that the commanders represent. He also explained the storytelling approach taking to teaching students how to handle field situations. Outcomes of scenarios are based on the answers given to questions.

Amanda and Krista went on to give their takes on the shooting scenario rooms and the computer motion sensors that recorded every statistic of everyone using the room. Michelle asked about the prison dispatch scenario she saw one time. Patrick agreed with Michelle's assessment, arguing that the scenario is very much like real-world conflicts. Krista pitched in that these are essential so that students don't end up in real-world conflicts without knowledge of what to do.

Typical visitors to Ferris' police academy


Michelle opens the show and introduces academy students.

In this segment, Michelle wanted to know more about the various guests that arrive at the police academy to talk with students. Patrick was the first to answer, informing Michelle that the reason for the guests was because many of them come from various police academies around the country with plenty of knowledge to share with students. Other students are elementary school kids, whom the academy students get to interact with by teaching them what they know.

Amanda expanded on this by explaining that they even show up to the elementary schools in full police uniform to put on demonstrations.

Real-world experiences

The girls covered this segment by talking about various events in which they played a role in security. Amanda mentioned that the Ferris academy students have covered both Grand Valley vs. Ferris games and Michigan State vs. Ferris hockey games.

Michelle, noting the gals' mention of fund raising and recycling events as being among the many things academy students perform, inquired details about their role in an upcoming alumni meeting. She also asked them about anything else they do for a public service. The girls began mentioning their roles in pancake breakfasts and car washes.

Michelle pressed on, wondering how the decisions were made for students to engage in such activities. Amanda reminded Michelle that the academy students themselves chose which activities they'd be credited for.



One of the guests speaks out.

After finishing with the public service records of the guests, Michelle wanted to know what "simunation" was. Patrick jumped on this to explain that it was a "shoot/don't shoot" simulator in which dry-paint rounds were fired from guns designed for dry paint fire, with students required to make decisions about when and when not to fire.

Krista then went on to mention some of the other things that the students learn in their program, including use of the fingerprinting room. Patrick explained afterward what the "Hall of Honor," was for, invoking its purpose of honoring past students who had become big names in their police departments after leaving.

Benefits of Ferris

When asked what the advantage is of graduating from Ferris' Criminal Justice program, Amanda was the first to speak up. She pointed out that law enforcement agencies well beyond Michigan's borders understand Ferris' program to be very reputable, and are eager to win recruits from it. Patrick added that the scenario shooting practices performed at Ferris considerably outweigh the number of such scenarios performed by other academies, allowing him to verify Amanda's claims.

In addition to this, Patrick referred to incidents where other academies would pay visits to Ferris in an effort to learn of ways to improve their own performance. Another thing Patrick dwelt on was the value of the problem-solving scenarios in the academy. He explained that the goal of these was to improve students' abilities to think for themselves, as real-world scenarios often call for improvisation.

Initiation into the academy

In this segment, Patrick informed Michelle that one of the first things students have to do to be entered into the police academy is to learn how to write a police report. He argued that one needs to learn that early on, since report-writing performance is something that will be critiqued of cops throughout their entire lives. Amanda added in a story of how someone from the Ferris once wrote a poor report, which led to multiple lawsuits.

Patrick finally mentioned that he didn't imagine he'd be wearing to the show the suit he was wearing, but stated that he did expect he would end up on TV eventually.


After the final thoughts, Michelle thanked the guests for their participation. The credits rolled.


While most of the guests were glad that the airing was as uneventful as it was and Michelle was thankful for being allowed maximum creative control, Glen was less than impressed that production didn't have more say in the content. He argued that there should have been more dissolves to demonstrative graphics. While the show resulted in a weak grade, it still received fairly positive reviews outside of the TV program.

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