In the criminal justice classroom following unrest in Baltimore

22News found out how criminal justice students perceive the recent riots.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)- The violence in Baltimore has intensified the discussion of police and race relations.  Several months of protests have people, police officers, and future generations assessing how to make a lasting change.

After serving as a Massachusetts State trooper for two decades, Denise Gosselin transitioned to teaching Criminal Justice for the next 20 years at Western New England University.

“How can they work in an environment that we see the police officers having to take?” Gosselin said.

Recent classroom  discussions have focused on the unrest across the nation, and now the Baltimore Riots.

Students studying criminal justice told 22News what they’re studying at the desk now could help them with what they encounter on the streets later as a police officer.

There are also some students who believe that protesters should find better ways to express their frustration.

“There’s just other ways to portray a point and convey your points, and people just need to figure it out. Someone needs to step up and really help these people understand whats really going on,” Dwayne Ellis, a Sophmore at WNEU studying Law & Society said.

Gosselin said  rioting, looting and violence make it harder to find solutions. “Fear and anger are the two most easily transferred emotions. Police officers and the public citizens, they all feel those same emotions when they are in a riot situation and how you handle it really depends on your training and background.”

Massachusetts State Police take 90 college courses over the course of  20 to 25 weeks of classroom training.

Gosselin said de-escalation and personal safety training are new areas of concern that should be modified to meet the needs of modern day law enforcement.


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