Brianna Pemberton, 18, of Royal Oak High School, and Delante Tyler, 18, of Oak Park High School, learn how to take fingerprints during a criminal  justice program  at the southeast Oakland Schools Technical Campus in Royal Oak Feb. 27. They then compared them to a sheet  of prints to  find a match.

Brianna Pemberton, 18, of Royal Oak High School, and Delante Tyler, 18, of Oak Park High School, learn how to take fingerprints during a criminal justice program at the southeast Oakland Schools Technical Campus in Royal Oak Feb. 27. They then compared them to a sheet of prints to find a match.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Technical campus in Royal Oak introduces homeland security cluster

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published March 6, 2018

 Michael Mayville teaches a cybersecurity program recently created under a homeland security cluster at the southeast Oakland Schools Technical Campus in Royal Oak Feb 27.

Michael Mayville teaches a cybersecurity program recently created under a homeland security cluster at the southeast Oakland Schools Technical Campus in Royal Oak Feb 27.

Photo by Donna Agusti

ROYAL OAK — In the fall, the southeast Oakland Schools Technical Campus rolled out a new homeland security cluster to replace its agriscience cluster.

Officials said the pilot cluster, which includes two career technical education programs — criminal justice and cybersecurity — is a hit among high school students throughout the county.

Ben Morin, an Oakland Schools career-focused education consultant, said both of the teachers in the agriscience and environmental technology programs had moved on to different careers.

“Instead of replacing it, there was a bigger need from businesses and industry in that region to offer criminal justice and cybersecurity,” Morin said. “Those two CTE programs weren’t being offered anywhere in that quadrant in Oakland County.”

He sat on the advisory committee that came up with the new cluster. He said the committee heard from businesses, industry, government, local law enforcement agencies and post-secondary partners to see if there was a need and support for the new programs.

Morin said he believed there was a waiting list for the criminal justice program and that the cybersecurity industry is speculated to grow rapidly in Michigan. He added that the committee wished to offer a third program in the cluster centered around nonhuman medical investigations, but that it couldn’t find an instructor in time.

Crystal Nowka, a former Wayne City police officer, teaches the criminal justice program. Besides law enforcement, she said she also discusses careers in the judicial and corrections systems so that students get a well-rounded perspective of the different options under the criminal justice umbrella.

“They have to know the laws and branches of government before they move on to investigate a scene or even effect a traffic stop,” Nowka said. “I’m hoping to get into the jail or a correctional facility where they actually have interactions with inmates.”

Students have heard from speakers in all branches of the military and from prosecutors, and on Feb. 27, they learned how to lift fingerprints through the Wayne State University C2 Pipeline program. On Feb. 28, Nowka said, the class would travel to WSU to take a blood spatter class.

“Unfortunately, (the students) are used to seeing a lot of negative aspects of law enforcement and the criminal justice system through media,” Nowka said. “They’re getting a different side of it (in the classroom).”

She said the students attended a Baker College networking job fair, which highlighted the departments in the area that are hiring.

“The idea is to weed out the potential criminal justice future employees with unethical behaviors who are getting into this field — weed them out now, so that we don’t have some of the issues we’re seeing,” she said.

Anthony Amalfitano, 18, of Troy, spends the first three hours of his school day in the criminal justice program and the rest at Troy High School. He said he has always had an interest in pursuing a career in public safety and that the class has taught him valuable skills.

“I always wanted to take a course like this,” he said. “Taking this class gives you the extra bonus. You get the leg up. I would recommend this to anybody even thinking about going into law enforcement.”

He said he enjoys the hands-on work in the class and looks forward to practicing different types of stops, defensive techniques with punching bags, how to use handcuffs and how to use a simulated police belt.

“In the end, (law enforcement) is a good profession,” Amalfitano said. “There’s always corruption, but we are going to make the change and make it less of that.”

Michael Mayville, who taught cybersecurity at a technical center in Oklahoma for five years, said his students enjoy the practical side of the class when they are working on cybersecurity programs.

“I can’t stop ’em,” he said. “They work right up until the bell rings. There’s some not fun stuff they need to know, but when it comes down to actually doing the program, they love it.”

He said students in the program will learn the skills to be able to enter the workforce in either a networking position or as an entry-level forensic security analyst.

Zach Schultz, 17, of Huntington Woods, supplements his normal school day at the Eton Academy in Birmingham with the cybersecurity program.

“I’ve always been interested in cybersecurity. It seemed like something that I’d enjoy, and it is,” Schultz said. “I just really like computers. They’re a lot of fun to play with and find out how they work and try to fix.”

He said the class learned how to build computers in the beginning of the year and that his favorite aspect is the hands-on experience.

“(I enjoy) learning things we do in the real world to prepare us and better benefit us in the future,” he said. “Even if you don’t want to go into computer networking, it’s still a great thing to learn because computers are the future.”

For more information about Oakland Schools Technical Campuses, visit www.ostconline.com.

Call Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik at (586) 218-5006.