Criminal justice goes undercover
By Mitchell Roland - Staff Reporter
Criminal justice students from Highline were recently able to gain some firsthand experience in a real-world environment.
Fifteen students from the program recently acted as decoys for explosive de- tection dogs from both the Transportation Security Ad- ministration and Seattle Po- lice at SeaTac Airport.
Criminal Justice professor Dr. Steve Lettic said that the students were needed since their scent is not familiar to the dogs.
"The need arose when it was found that the employ- ees from SeaTac airport were easily found by the dogs due to the airport scent already on them," Dr. Lettic said.
Dr. Lettic said the students don't have the same scent and the dogs did not recognize them, which meant that they were "very important in the process."
Dr. Lettic said that in Homeland Security classes, they normally teach through books and lectures. But expe- riences such as this give stu- dents a different perspective.
"Opportunities like this, and this is just one example, give the students exposure to working examples, officers in the field, and a chance to see the what and why of layered security," he said.
Dr. Lettic said that stu- dents were also able to talk with the officers and gain a better understanding of what they do and how to get into the field.
"The students are also able to ask how the officers achieved their status, what training took place, wages, and other opportunities," Dr. Lettic said.
Dr. Lettic said that through this experience, students were also able to able to gain a better overall understanding of the work that goes into securing an airport.
"It's also impactful to know the thoughts of the officer's mindset and see how each security system contributes to the overall Homeland Security system," he said.
Dr. Lettic said when he has talked with the students who participated, "each has related the clearer picture of what they do when working with explosive detection K9's, what that job entails, and how important it is," he said.
Dr. Lettic said that at the end of the training, the students received a "nice certificate from TSA for participating and know that their contribution is important in certifying the dogs and handlers."