William Woods Criminal Justice program

Hands-on Partnership with Callaway County Sheriff Department Is Latest Real-Life Experience for William Woods Criminal Justice Students

It’s not every day that a college student gets to attend an autopsy, but that’s exactly what William Woods University (WWU) Criminal Justice major Olivia Imhoff recently experienced.

“Even though the details of an autopsy can be shocking at times, it deepened my educational background and definitely opened my eyes to new career opportunities,” said Imhoff, a junior at WWU. “As a criminal justice major looking to go into law enforcement, the medical examiner profession could also be in my future after observing this special step in the investigative process.”

The experience was part of a new partnership between the Criminal Justice Department at WWU and Callaway County Sheriff’s Department, and is one more unique way that students in the program receive hands-on, real-world law enforcement experience.

“Considering I have a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and actually started my career at Callaway County as a college intern nearly 20 years ago, I personally recognize how classroom work combined with real life, naked eye experience makes the academic experience, and outcome, all the better,” said Clay Chism, Sheriff of Callaway County. “As a law enforcement administrator in a field where recruiting qualified, educated applicants is sometimes a challenge, I find our partnership with WWU to be a recruiting tool for my agency.”

The partnership was developed to 2015. In addition to attending autopsies, students in the William Woods Criminal Justice program have a number of opportunities to gain practical, real-world experience in law enforcement, including topics as varied as Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) technology demonstrations to training classes on how to properly handcuff suspects.

“Sheriff Chisholm and his staff have continued to be dedicated supporters of the WWU Criminal Justice program and of tremendous value in bridging the gap between a student’s studies and the field of criminal justice and homeland/industrial security,” said Stephen Saravara, Director of the Criminal Justice program at William Woods. “It’s particularly rewarding for both faculty and students to participate in a wide variety of experiential learning based opportunities in any academic discipline, and we intend to continue to maintain and further develop such programs in the future.”

The partnership with the Callaway County Sheriff’s Department is only part of the experiences students in the WWU Criminal Justice program benefit from. Aspiring criminal justice professionals also attend Cyber Security symposiums; witness FBI lectures on human trafficking and counter terrorism; learn interrogation techniques from the Missouri Highway Patrol and have the opportunity to take a four-week study abroad experience in security and law enforcement in Hong Kong.

Read more about the William Woods University Criminal Justice program.