JOPLIN, Mo. — High school students from across the Four States get a close-up look at the criminal justice system.

“So welcome to the firing range,” said Dr. Tim Wilson, Justice Studies Dept. Chair

Juniors and seniors from high schools across the area got a glimpse of what it is like to be a student in the MSSU Criminal Justice Program.

Brendan McNamara is a senior at Miller High School and tested his skills to differentiate the good guys from the not-so-good guys with the department’s F.A.T.S. or Firearms Training Simulator.

“It’s a really good look about how fast we need to recognize a threat and how fast we need to recognize what level of threat it is and it keeps us on our toes to not shoot somebody that’s not a threat. So it’s a really good look at it, I think personally,” said McNamara.

“We have many immersive learning environments that we have set up for our students and so we want to give them the opportunity to see that, to see how that fits their area of interest, and their education and hopefully encourage them to come here and be students at Missouri Southern,” said Dr. Wilson.

Many of these students have already expressed an interest in at least one of the programs offered within the growing number of degree options within the field. When most people think of Criminal Justice they tend to think of police officer or sheriff’s deputy but there are a wide range of different occupations in this program.

“Not only do we have the Criminal Justice component, which does have the law enforcement and the probation and parole, and juvenile justice area, we also have military science; we also have political science, so there are many new opportunities within the Department of Justice studies for students to take advantage of,” he added.

“It helps me get a better look and idea of what my potential is in the future here as a Lion and potential of also being a detective so I’m really, really looking forward to it,” said McNamara.

And there are even certificate options now too, like in Conservation Management leading to a career as a park ranger.