Rowan’s Law & Justice Day brings law enforcement opportunities to campus

NJ State Police Officers Krzaczkowski and Donahue riding their horses, Pepe and Phantom, at the 2023 Law & Justice Day at Bunce Green Circle. - News Intern / Abigail Twiford

Law enforcement, dogs, horses and Rowan students were drawn out to the Bunce Green on a windy Wednesday morning. Students around the green talked with state troopers, SWAT team members, transit officers and police sergeants about potential career prospects. 

Rowan Public Safety and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences held Law and Justice Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 19 for students seeking internships and employment opportunities in law enforcement and related fields. Several police departments and K-9 units from the South Jersey area, state police, parole boards, transit and military police, liquor patrol boards, SWAT and military police and Customs and Border Protection volunteered their time to hand out business cards and flyers to students looking into law enforcement careers. About 50 students came throughout the event to speak with recruitment officials and watch demonstrations.  

Each department participated as volunteers, for the purpose of giving Rowan students access to potential career resources and networking opportunities that are outside of the traditional trajectory that colleges use to immerse students in their respective career paths. 

“It’s extremely cost-efficient, to be honest with you. So these are departments volunteering their time. They come here, and then there are certain departments that do demonstrations and everything is cost-free. There are minor expenses when it comes to it, and that would be renting out AV equipment, getting plaques for people that they’re awarding and then minor food accommodations. Most of this is volunteer work,” said Christopher McCaughan, a patrolman with the Rowan Police Department.

There was also an introduction ceremony at the event, which featured officials giving out two award plaques. The Award for Outstanding Leadership and Exemplary Service was given to Rowan Sergeant Christopher Leadbeater, who is about to retire, and the award was accepted on his behalf by Officer Dylan Landi. Jeffery Schwartz Ph.D. was given The Distinguished Alumni Award. Schwartz graduated from Rowan in 1987, had a 20-year career in law enforcement and now works at Rowan University as a professor.

Sergeant Ninkovic from the New Jersey Transit Police was giving students information on the job opportunities and duties officers have, discussing benefits, locations and responsibilities of employment.

“It’s nice to be able to talk to the students face to face, have an open dialogue about what police work is in 2023 and what we can offer the communities beyond all in order,” said Ninkovic. 

Joseph Krzaczkowski and William Donahue, two state troopers on their horses, Pepe and Phantom, fielded questions from students about what their jobs entailed, giving detail on the requirements of mental and physical entrance tests, as well as physical requirements of maintaining employment. 

Michael Guenther is a trooper with the New Jersey state police.

“We’re actually hiring so we’re trying to get a lot of students from this area to basically become state troopers so we’re happy to be here,” said Guenther. 

Rowan and Glassboro police dogs Mattis, Loki, Gunner and Mazz demonstrated some of their skills. It was explained that the best dogs for police work come from Europe and many of the dogs know commands in English, German, Dutch or some combination of all three. The dogs were then led through drills and exercises that showed their ability to find explosives and drugs in bags and packages. Their ability to track down, hold and help to apprehend suspects of criminal activity was also demonstrated by some of the officers wearing bite suits that don’t allow a dog to cause any physical injury, while still giving the audience a sense of the extent of the training the dogs have in their ability to begin chasing a target and change direction mid-sprint with just one command.

SWAT teams and the National Guard had equipment like body armor, armored vehicles, goggles and binoculars on display beside the green and on the tables provided to them. 

“I would recommend freshmen come here and get information on stuff they need, whether they’re in law and justice, criminal justice. It’s very helpful,” said Yasmine Demir. 

Administration and specific educational departments encourage students to attend career fairs and events like this to practice speaking to employers and networking, to ensure greater success in the job market after graduation.

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