Criminal Justice Students Analyze Diversity and Disparity in La Crosse and Jackson Counties
Partnering with local law enforcement agencies, Globe students, pursing criminal justice degrees, in Scott Alo’s Cultural Diversity class supported area police forces while applying classroom knowledge to local populations in a dynamic service learning project.
For the project, the class was split into two groups. One group collected and analyzed data from La Crosse County and the second group researched Jackson County. With the data, students “were able to identify some specific racial disparities within both counties via the compilation of arrest and sentencing data with a specific concentration on sexual assault and domestic violence related incidents,” explained Scott Alo, Globe Criminal Justice Program Chair.
After the students interpreted the data they collected, they researched the different approaches the counties took to address the differing populations and the diverse challenges they faced. In addition, the students “learned how misconceptions from the general public can create additional hurdles. The information gathered also helped the students to understand that these issues have been recognized by law enforcement, evident due to the amount of diversity training that is being offered by both organizations,” Alo said.
To share their findings with the partner agencies, students presented their research to Steve Helgeson, La Crosse County Sheriff, and Mark Moan, Jackson County Sheriff Chief Deputy, attended a presentation at Globe University. The guests appreciated the data the students collected and explained the initiatives their departments provide to focus on disparity and discrimination. In addition, both officers intend on incorporating the research into future trainings for their departments.
The students and law enforcement agencies both benefited from this multifaceted service learning effort. “This project helped to grow student understanding of diverse cultures, communities, and the social issues present while at the same time satisfying their urge toward civic participation,” concluded Alo.