SANTA ROSA, Calif., Nov 7, 2018 – Tomorrow’s Leaders Today, a program of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County, partnered with Santa Rosa Junior College Safety Training Center in Windsor, California to support the organization’s criminal justice program. Nearly 100 juniors from high schools throughout Sonoma County and 16 volunteers from agencies in the criminal justice field participated in Criminal Justice Day.
Overall, Tomorrow’s Leaders Today participants gain a comprehensive understanding of the criminal justice system, from prevention and intervention, to apprehension and incarceration, to rehabilitation and treatment. They meet and talk with representatives of various law enforcement and community-based organizations to learn about career opportunities and training requirements, as well as innovative approaches like restorative justice.
“Through the Tomorrow’s Leaders Today program, young people are exposed to different aspects of several criminal justice jobs, and get to learn first-hand the many ways there are to serve their community,” said James Conner, Chief of Police, Sebastopol Police Department. It has been truly inspiring to see such motivated and engaged youth interested in learning about our career field and considering various perspectives on weighty issues with such open minds”
Tomorrow’s Leaders Today director Catrina Dierke spearheaded the criminal justice day efforts. “Students are exposed to the full spectrum of the criminal justice system,” said Dierke. “They have a unique opportunity to learn from exceptional professionals in the industry whose life mission is to protect and serve our community.”
This year, students began their day meeting with Captain Rainer Navarro from the Santa Rosa Police Department and Sheriff Rob Giordano from Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. Together these agencies service Sonoma County, which exceeds 1,600 square miles and has a population of nearly 500,000. “Criminal Justice Day is an excellent way to show young people how they can have a great career with the Sheriff’s Office,” said Sheriff Elect Mark Essick. “Through this experience, Tomorrow’s Leaders Today is helping us recruit and maintain a diverse workforce that represents our community.”
Detective Ryan Mitchell and Deputy Nicholas DeGuilio from the Sheriff’s Department SWAT team, and Deputy Anthony Mitchell, Deputy Beau Zastrow, and Deputy Kensell Williams with Boomer the Bomb Dog from the Sheriff’s Department Bomb team demonstrated the equipment and procedures they use in their work. Members of the Santa Rosa and Sebastopol police departments presented information to the students about their particular role in keeping the community safe, providing examples and close up experiences, including the K-9 Unit with Officer Nick Vercelli, Officer Mike Paetzold and K-9 companion Riko, and Force Options (“shoot/don’t-shoot”) Training Simulator with Sergeant Joe Furry and Officer Ben Schott. Sonoma County’s helicopter unit, Henry-1, responds to an average of 900 missions annually. Henry-1’s crew, Pilot Paul Bradley and Deputy Christopher Haas, dropped in mid-day to meet students and provide insight about their nationally recognized helicopter program and rescue skills.
The day concluded with a conversation with an inmate from the Sonoma County detention facility and Sergeant Lisa Boehm, an exploration of restorative justice by Todd Harper with Restorative Resources, and an interactive mock trial facilitated by Chief Deputy District Attorney Troye Shaffer, Chief Deputy Defender Lynne Slater and Judge Mark Urioste.
Throughout Criminal Justice Day, many students were introduced to knowledge and information that they have never been exposed to before. One student said “I now feel inspired to work in law.” For others, Criminal Justice Day was inspirational in other ways. One student learned that “leadership starts within yourself”, and another shared that “hard work breeds success.”
“The Tomorrow’s Leaders Today’s criminal justice program day provides our future leaders with a chance to experience what it is like to work in the public safety field,” said Captain Rainer J. Navarro of the Santa Rosa Police Department. “Participants gain valuable insight into the many rewarding opportunities of a public safety career and learn about the professionalism, pride, and character it takes to serve our community.”
About Tomorrow’s Leaders Today
A program of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County, Tomorrow’s Leaders Today is a community education and leadership skills training program for students entering their junior year in high school throughout Sonoma County, California. Emphasizing hands-on learning, critical thinking, and communication, Tomorrow’s Leaders Today students get an inside look at their community and its issues, meet decision-makers, solve problems and discover how Sonoma County works. Tomorrow’s Leaders Today is a program of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County. For more information about Tomorrow’s Leaders Today, visit tomorrowsleaderstoday.org.
Director, Tomorrow’s Leaders Today
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County
1400 North Dutton Ave. Ste. 24
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Phone: (707) 528-7977
Fax: (707) 528-7933
Tax ID# 68-0309534