Western Illinois University is looking to recruit the next generation of law enforcement.
The university held an open house for high school students, looking to get a hands on experience in what could be their future career, on Monday.
Organizers said more than 475 students attended the WIU School of Law enforcement and justice administration open house.
They said the purpose is to show students all the jobs that are available in the law enforcement field and that it’s not just patrolling the streets.
The open house included K-9 demonstrations, accident reconstruction, drones and finger prints.
Those are just some of the lessons that high school students from all around the Tri-States are watching and practicing.
“It’s been really fun, I got to do a bunch of things with the police and fire department,” high school student Lacey Melzer said.
These hands-on activities are part of the WIU School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration’s first ever interactive open house, in an effort to highlight available jobs and what those consist of.
“I’m interested in criminology,” high school student Morgan Brady said. “I’m a junior right now, but I’m planning on majoring in criminology, so I thought it would be a fun experience.”
Students went to different classrooms to learn all about a variety of jobs. It’s something WIU School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration Director Jill Myers said allows them to learn from professionals.
“We’re showcasing a lot with our faculty at Western,” Myers said. “All our people who have done the job, have also spent 20 to 30 years practicing their craft, so they’re all here today demonstrating different things that they do.”
For some students, this is a chance to see if this is the career path they want to take.
“I’m interested in the CSI type career, so I just wanted to see what it was like,” high school student Alanna Smith said.
Myers also said this is a great recruitment tool and hopes students walk away wanting a job in law enforcement.
“Right now is the best time to get law enforcement jobs throughout the country,” Myers said.
Myers said there is soon going to be a lot of openings in law enforcement, because older officers are retiring.
Myers said students from more than 125 school districts from Illinois, Iowa and Missouri attended Monday’s open house.
She said they have summer camps similar to the open house available for high school students.
She also said she is considering holding another open house like this in the spring.