Law & Order ECS | Police Ride Alongs and Prison Museum

March 11, 2017

Riding with the Florence Police Department
Estin N. ‘20

Today, we learned about rural law enforcement. In order to do this, we visited the Florence Police Department in Florence, Colorado. While here, we learned about the differences between rural law enforcement and metropolitan law enforcement. While the answers did vary depending on the officer, the most common answer to appear was that specialization was not possible in smaller communities. The CSI department, for example, covered all things by only handfuls of people. For instance, the same person who would be in charge of fingerprint processing would also photograph the scene, examine and collect DNA from the scene, and a whole other myriad of things. We talked with the local SWAT team who explained that because their community is so small, they don’t really work as part of a SWAT team, but rather are on call all day. This entails being ready to get up and put all of their gear on at 0300. Once done with that, we completed activities pertaining to how well you notice changes in a scene. We also examined fingerprints to see if we could match them.

Another thing we participated in was ride-longs. The officers took three of us at a time. Chief DeLaurentis pulled our vehicle over on a road that comes into town and showed us how the radar gun worked and how to calibrate it. He mentioned that he would normally only pull someone over if they were going twelve over the speed limit, He explained the process of giving a ticket, and that it is important to pay attention to the car you are planning on pulling over so that you do not mistake the violator. Special thanks to Officer Sean and DeLaurentis for helping keep us safe!

In the Halls of Territorial
Bioneth G. ‘18

As the Law & Order ECS progresses everyone has been able to assimilate new information into our old concepts and background knowledge. Today’s experience was no different. The group traveled to the Territorial Prison Museum, located in Canon City, to explore the history of the prison system. The museum is a former women’s prison building which is beside the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility which has been an active prison since 1871. The only division between us and the prison was a concrete wall.

Our tour guide in the prison museum referred to jail as a “cake walk,” making sure we understood that prison is much worse than jail. This comparison made a huge impact on our perspectives of the reality that prisoners face. Most of thought that the El Paso County Jail was a daunting place, so we could imagine how living in a prison might be. Inmates in prison are charged with a felony, which is far more serious than a misdemeanor. Felony means prison. This also means they lose their right to vote, own a firearm, and remain in contact with other people charged with felonies. A felony will stay on a person’s record forever. Prison systems are for the most part permanent. People will serve many years, a life sentence, or even a death penalty.     

During our tour, we talked about few cases in which kids or teenagers have been sentenced to an adult prison (mostly in the 19th and early 20th centuries). This was the case of Anton Wood, a 10-year-old boy, who murdered a man for his gold watch. He went to the old Territorial Prison when he turned 11 years old and served 25 years there. It called many people’s attention that once he was released from prison he reformed his life. He had learned many new skills during his time in prison from an older inmate. Anton had new hobbies, a job and eventually a successful marriage. This is only one of the many stories we’ve been told. Each story is a lesson we will never be able to forget.

Thanks to our experiences these last few days, we are now capable understanding different types of law enforcement and its systems in the United States. Along the way, we have been able to listen and learn from real life stories told by experts in the subject. Experiences go beyond what students can learn in a classroom. We look forward for what lessons tomorrow will bring.

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