April 16, 2014
When Josie Purcell began her internship with the Brazos County Constable’s office in summer 2012, she was equipped with plenty of classroom knowledge but had yet to witness criminal justice in action.
“I had no experience in law enforcement whatsoever, but they let me do everything but drive the car and shoot a gun,” she said with a grin.
Now a detention officer with the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office, Purcell credits her success to Blinn’s Criminal Justice internship program and the mentors she met along the way.
“Internships provide the practical applications for what students have learned in the classroom,” said Janet McNutt, Criminal Justice Program coordinator. “It’s a priceless experience that helps students reach their career goals.”
Blinn offers an Associate of Arts in criminal justice and Associate of Applied Science degrees in criminal justice and law enforcement. It also offers a certificate in corrections and a basic peace officer academy through a partnership with the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX).
The Criminal Justice Program’s internship option is a 200-hour course for credit offered in the Spring and Summer semesters. Students must meet with McNutt several months prior to the semester they wish to intern to discuss goals and secure a position with an agency.
The program has partnered with the Brazos County Constable’s office and is looking to create more opportunities for students with other local law enforcement agencies.
Purcell said her internship marked a turning point in her education and her future.
“It was by far one of the best experiences of my life,” Purcell said. “I’ve learned to conduct myself as an officer and I can talk to the inmates without the use of force.”
Brazos County Precinct One Constable Jeff Reeves and Purcell also recalled the day in August 2012 when Constable Brian Bachmann was fatally shot while serving an eviction notice.
Purcell and Reeves had just had lunch with Bachmann before he headed to Fidelity Street in College Station to deliver the document.
“We waved at Brian on Southwest Parkway and headed back to the office,” Purcell said. “Not 10 minutes later, the radio went crazy.
“It was definitely a difficult experience, but it has reaffirmed that I’m following my calling.”
For more information on Blinn’s Criminal Justice Program, visit www.blinn.edu/twe/crimjustice/.
Blinn enrolled 18,413 students this Fall and has experienced 31.1 percent growth since 2006. Founded in 1883, the College’s tuition and fees average about one-third the cost of the same classes at most four-year public universities in the state. In addition to its campuses in Brenham, Bryan, Schulenburg and Sealy, the College teaches online courses, dual credit for high school and prepares students for quick employment through its career and technical certification programs. For enrollment information and to learn about financial aid opportunities, visit: www.blinn.edu.PHOTO: Brazos County Constable Jeff Reeves and Blinn College criminal justice grad Josie Purcell discussed internship opportunities with current Blinn students Tuesday. Purcell said her internship marked a turning point in her education and her future.