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Front Page » June 3, 2008 » News » Green River High field trip shows career options
Published 3,190 days ago

Green River High field trip shows career options

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Green River students gather at the court house in Castle Dale to learn about the courts from Judge Thomas

The Green River High studentbody went on their third field trip of the year under the direction of the Dream Builders. A grant made possible by the United Way of Southeastern Utah and UCAN funded the field trip.

The first field trip was made last fall and explored job opportunities in energy related fields. In January a field trip was taken to Salt Lake to the Clark Planetarium. This was the first time many of these students had been to the downtown Salt Lake area.

Their concluding field trip of this school year was to the Emery County Sheriff's Office, court facility, Star Theatre and to the College of Eastern Utah.

The students were split into groups for the tour of the jail facility. While some toured the jail, the other students went into the conference room where Lt. Bill Downard and dispatcher Maureen Copatch talked to them about careers in law enforcement.

In dispatch, Sgt. Bliss Mead showed the students all of the electronic equipment used. All of the 911 calls are pinpointed on a map which is on a screen hanging from the ceiling. The dispatcher controls all of the locking doors in the building and in the pods where the inmates are housed. There are four sections in the jail. Some of the prisoners are allowed out on work release. Sgt. Dusty Butler conducted one of the tours. He told the students of the jobs available at the jail. There are dispatchers, jailers and a cook. You need a high school diploma to apply for the jobs and then on the job training is offered. Deputy training includes the POST-peace officers standards training and Fred House Academy for corrections. Detective jobs are also available.

The students were interested in the taser gun and Sgt. Butler explained how it works. There are taser guns available for use in the jail and Sgt. Butler said when they just point the gun at the subjects they become compliant. They also have a shotgun with bean bag loads if needed to maintain order in the jail. A doctor comes to the jail once a week or as needed and the only time the inmates leave would be if they needed dental work done. The courts are attached to the jail so inmates who need to go to court are just taken down a hall without leaving the building. Sgt. Butler said they have good food at the jail now that they have a cook, prior to this the trustees did the cooking. One of the students wondered if there had been less problems now that the food was better.

The students were shown the booking room where finger prints and mug shots are taken. They viewed the kitchen, laundry room and evidence room.

Sgt. Butler told the students the jail can house up to 88 people.

Lt. Downard told the students that law enforcement is a good career. He has been in law enforcement for 26 years and four days. Lt. Downard is responsible for everything involved with the jail, court security and dispatch. Lt. Downard said they have recently hired civilian dispatchers and it has worked out well.

Lt. Downard said the people in the sheriff's office are really good to work with, he has developed good friends in the office. He told the students that CEU has an excellent criminal justice program. Lt. Downard said the employees of the sheriff's office are continually receiving training. He told the students if they are interested in a career in law enforcement to come and talk to the people who are involved in these fields. He told the students the people at the sheriff's office have a lot of contacts and know people involved in every aspect of law enforcement. They would be glad to help the students get started in a career in law enforcement. "It's a rewarding career, it's rewarding to help people," said Downard.

Janice Mounteer speaks to the students about owning a small business.

The students moved onto the court side of the facility. Seventh District Judge Douglas Thomas spoke to the students. He also introduced the prosecuting attorney, Brent Langston and the defense counsel, David Allred. Judge Thomas said they were involved in a law and motion day. They were hearing a number of cases in various stages. He hears both criminal and civil cases. His job is to make a decision about a case based on the information presented. He graduated from law school and was in private practice for a number of years, involved in family law, domestic relations, child custody, child support and various cases of those types. He has been a judge for the Seventh District court which encompasses the counties of Grand, San Juan, Carbon and Emery. There are three judges in this district, including Judge Lyle Anderson and Judge George Harmond.

Judge Thomas told the students only a small number of cases go to trial, but the majority of the cases are settled without a trial. Judge Thomas said one of his responsibilities is to decide disputes between parties that can't agree. The state brings charges against a defendant. The defendant can waive his right to a trial. If a case is taken to trial, the jury will determine if the defendant is guilty or not guilty, but the judge will set the sentence if the defendant is found guilty.

One of the students asked Judge Thomas if he knew all the laws before becoming a judge. Judge Thomas showed the students the four volumes of Utah code books, and told the students it is impossible to know all of the laws.

The judges rely on the attorneys to present the law. The attorneys research the laws and present their views of which laws should apply in each case.

The judge and lawyers present recommended careers as lawyers. Judge Thomas said his career has been very rewarding.

Allred encouraged the students to get good grades in school so they can get scholarships and be able to get into the schools they want to attend. "Work hard and start now, if you're not getting good grades then your opportunities are limited," said Allred. Allred said he has enjoyed his law career very much.

Langston said he went to law school and obtained a law degree. Reading, writing and speaking are very important skills to have as a lawyer. Langston said in criminal cases it's his job to find truth and justice. If there isn't a case with probable cause then he also has the duty to dismiss charges. Lawyers need three additional years of schooling after completing a bachelors degree.

Wade Allinson from the Adult Probation and Parole also spoke to the students, he said part of his job is to put together presentencing reports for the judge. This supplies the judge with more information to base his decisions. Part of their job is to watch people on parole and probation. He encouraged students also, to get good grades. He said the current position he holds there were 200 applicants and one opening. "It's a competitive field, you need to increase your skills," said Allinson.

The students traveled to the Star Theatre in Huntington where they had lunch and watched a movie. Star Theatre, Grill and Fun Center owners, Percy and Janice Mounteer told the students how they started their small business. They began by purchasing and renovating the theatre. They diversified their business by opening the Fun Center and Grill three years ago. "It's hard in a little town to have a small business, if you want your own business then you need to do plenty of research," said Janice.

After the movie the students traveled to the CEU campus and listened to presentations by CEU instructors which included: Stan Martineau-automotive, Mike Tryon-welding, Frances Swasey-nursing, Henning Olsen-business, Scott Henrie, Rich Walton-criminal justice, and Lewis Stilson-building construction. The students toured the forensics lab while on campus.

Next school year field trips are being planned for Antelope Island, IHC health facilities, Hunter power plant and construction companies in the area.

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