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Olivet College
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We cannot ignore that Black men and women continue to experience social injustices and brutality at the hands of law enforcement. But, not all law enforcement professionals are bad. Countless extraordinary men and women in the field want nothing more to help a fellow human being during what is likely one of the most tragic and chaotic moments in their life.

The amount of training and education a prospective law enforcement professional receives is key to how they will likely treat others in the field. Olivet College’s criminal justice program is regarded as one of the best in the state of Michigan, with social justice and relationship building embedded in the curriculum. Students are required to take courses that focus on racial, ethnic and gender inequalities. They have honest discussions on diversity, equity and fairness with faculty members who have worked as law enforcement professionals. They reflect on why people are treated differently and how these interactions can be improved. Students also dig deep into why they want a career as a criminal justice professional.

Graduates of the Olivet College criminal justice program are sought after by local and county law enforcement agencies and routinely finish at the top of the Michigan State Police Academy. For Olivet’s graduates, it’s about compassion, empathy and integrity. It’s about being more than brave or courageous; it’s about doing good for others every day.

Three Olivet College alumni who are criminal justice professionals shared an inside perspective on how they strive to be a catalyst for positive change in their communities and how they live the College’s mission today.

Zoe Feighner ’19, Michigan State Police Trooper

Zoe Feighner ’19, Michigan State Police Trooper

Zoe Feighner ’19 recently began her criminal justice career as a Michigan State Police trooper. Her job is not only to serve and protect, but to promote social justice, community relationships and trust in the police force. Feighner believes her role as a criminal justice professional allows her “to be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Q: Why did you decide to pursue a career in the criminal justice field?

A: I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. I’m a firm believer that you have to be the change you wish to see in the world, and I feel that working in the criminal justice field can help me do that.

Q: How do you feel you contribute to your community as a CJ professional?

A: I’m still fairly new to the CJ profession, but I feel that just being able to let people talk about what is upsetting them makes them feel a lot better and gives them a better view of CJ professionals.

Q: How have you carried lessons from Olivet College in to the workplace?

A: Every day I am using the elements of crimes that I studied in my Michigan Criminal Law Class. I am evaluating crime scenes and paying attention to details similar to what I learned in the Cold Case Investigations course. I also believe that Olivet College has helped me prepare for interacting with diverse people and different cultures.

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

A: Every day is different. You never know the kind of day you are going to have. You always have to be on your toes. I love interacting with people. My goal is to create a positive interaction, so people may have a better outlook on police officers.

Kinslea Blouin ’19, Child Protective Services

Kinslea Blouin ’19, Child Protective Services

Kinslea Blouin ’19 is a Child Protectives Services investigator. She advocates for one of the most vulnerable populations and works to promote a healthy family structure. Blouin creates custom solutions and support for each case she works on, understanding that each family, each child and each situation is unique.

Q: Why did you decide to pursue a career in the criminal justice field?

A: I love helping people create better lives for themselves. More specifically, in my career as a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigator, I get the opportunity to gain relationships and provide services for entire families. Criminal justice is a field where you may be the only positive influence in a person’s life, and I believe that is such a huge role to have and one that I take very seriously.

Q: How do you feel you contribute to your community as a CJ professional?

A: I am protecting children, as well as helping families make positive changes in their lives. We can provide services such as counseling, drug rehabilitation, AA support and intensive in-home parenting assistance. By providing these services, I am providing the family with an opportunity to change their lives in a positive way, which is helping the community as a whole. When we are in these children’s lives, we become someone they can talk to, look up to and trust. Shaping the next generation means shaping the future.

Q: How have you carried lessons from Olivet College in to the workplace?

A: The CJ program gave me all of the tools to be successful in the field, and I carry many lessons with me that I learned in college. All of the professors have long backgrounds of working in the field, so they bring a lot of knowledge and experience to their teaching styles, which I loved. However, the biggest one may come from Dr. Regina Armstrong, director of the criminal justice program. She says, “Respect given is respect earned; disrespect given is disrespect earned.” Dr. Armstrong says this multiple times in all of her classes, and it is so true. In my job, I am someone that comes into a family’s home to investigate child abuse and neglect. Usually, the families I see are not happy that I am there and pretty hostile initially; however, if I show them respect and show them that I am there to help them, nine times out of 10 their attitudes change, and they respect me as well. Respect is not just given. You have to earn it, and I work really hard to earn the respect of my clients to give them the best opportunities to make a positive change within their family.

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

A: The favorite part of my job is providing a service to a family and seeing it pay off. It is incredible to see a family that may have made some negative choices complete a service and make a positive change. Seeing a family come out on top and never have CPS involvement again is always the goal. Another favorite part of my job, of course, is that I get to hang out and talk to kids all the time, which is so fun. I have always loved kids, so that is a huge plus.

Tyler Goerbig ’17, Michigan State Police Trooper

Tyler Goerbig ’17, Michigan State Police Trooper

Tyler Goerbig ’17 believes it is critical to serve as a role model in his community by being an officer. As a Michigan State Police trooper, he aims to promote social justice and advance multicultural understanding. Goerbig’s dedication and responsibility as a trooper are straightforward — it’s his duty to respond to an emergency no matter the situation.

Q: Why did you decide to pursue a career in the criminal justice field?

A: Growing up, I witnessed a tremendous amount of criminal activity in my family. There was drug abuse, violent crimes and murder attached to my family name. I was tired of my last name being associated with bad people, so I decided that the best way to combat this issue was to be on the opposite side of the law.

Q: How do you feel you contribute to your community as a CJ professional?

A: I contribute to my surrounding community as a criminal justice professional by simply clocking in for work and responding to situations that most people can never imagine encountering. It is an amazing feeling knowing that I get to keep people out of harm’s way.

Q: How have you carried lessons from Olivet College in to the workplace?

A: The biggest lesson I have carried is to always be honest no matter what. That is something that was drilled into my head as a CJ student by my professors. Honesty is essential because we are supposed to be role models as police officers, and it is important to be honest and to have integrity.

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

A: I am the helping hand for people. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing I changed someone’s day for the better or even their life.

Today, many wonder why anyone would want to pursue a career in criminal justice. The pay isn’t great, long hours are required and holiday work is expected, and generally, the profession is treated poorly by the public. Feighner and Goerbig serve across the state of Michigan, risking their lives to save others. Blouin protects children in crisis and works to keep families whole. If you ask them why anyone would want to pursue a criminal justice career, they’ll say it’s because they were taught by the best to Be More and Do Good.

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