Jonathan Rovtar-Ruiz

Jonathan Rovtar-Ruiz always knew he wanted a career which focused on helping people. His challenge was finding the right career.

Rovtar-Ruiz came to OCC from Jamesville-Dewitt High School and enrolled in the College’s Nursing program but realized it wasn’t right for him. He struck up a conversation with Assistant Professor Peter Patnode in the Criminal Justice department and suddenly everything became clear. “I realized Criminal Justice was what I wanted to pursue. He drove everything home and taught me anything is possible if you try hard enough.

Rovtar-Ruiz did an internship with the Syracuse Police Department and loved it. As the President of the Criminal Justice Club he helped organize an event during the fall 2014 semester which brought emergency response vehicles from both the Syracuse Police Department and the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department up to campus. The event gave students the opportunity to get a first-hand look at the equipment police use and speak with law enforcement officers about career options. “For me it was a reminder I am pursuing the right career.”

Rovtar-Ruiz will graduate in May 2015. His goal is to work for either the Syracuse Police Department or the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department.

Criminal Justice Club’s Hands-on Learning

Students in OCC’s newly-formed Criminal Justice Club got a first-hand look at the career they’re considering when local law enforcement agencies brought their hardware to campus. The Syracuse Police Department contributed a cruiser and its Crisis Response Team truck, while the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department brought up a SWAT vehicle, a Bomb Squad truck and a cruiser for students to examine inside and out. Both agencies also had officers on hand for students to discuss career options with.

 

Students in Onondaga's Criminal Justice Club see how to operate a robot that is part of the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department's Bomb Squad.
Students see how to operate a robot that is part of the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department’s Bomb Squad.

“This was a great experience for our students,” said Assistant Professor Peter Patnode. “We wanted to enhance the student’s overall experience. We learn a lot in class but this takes it to the next level. It allows students to get a first-hand look at the equipment. By speaking with police officers they realize they are people just like them.”

Jonathan Rovtar-Ruiz (Jamesville-Dewitt), a sophomore and President of the Criminal Justice Club, got a lot out of the event. “Today is a reminder for me that I am pursuing the right career. The opportunity to meet members of law enforcement up close and see what they work with is priceless.”

Sgt. John Stephens of the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department speaks with students about the proper way to use firearms.
Sgt. John Stephens of the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department speaks with students about the proper way to use firearms.