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HCTC launches criminal justice program

By: Matthew Rand Email
By: Matthew Rand Email

HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Like everything else these days, crime has gone high tech.

People who work in law enforcement are having to adapt to new methods and new technology.

A new program at Hazard Community and Technical College is preparing tomorrow's police officers for these new challenges.

HCTC's criminal justice program is brand new this semester.

Officials say it's a whole new world, and would-be police officers need to be ready.

"Society's getting more complex, more things are going digital, there's bigger cyber crime, there's more identity theft, there's more things that the justice system's going to have to be prepared to deal with," said program director Walter Smith.

Changes in technology are creating additional challenges for law enforcement.

"Agencies have developed internet crimes divisions, they have units where that's what they concentrate on," said Trooper Jody Sims of the Kentucky State Police.

But HCTC's criminal justice program isn't just focused on cyber crime.

"They can do a law enforcement track, a correctional track, a security track," explained Smith.

Once students complete the two-year program at HCTC, they can finish their bachelor's degree in criminal justice through a partnership with Eastern Kentucky University.

"We have the partnership through the University Center of the Mountains, and Eastern Kentucky, they actually have a full-time professor here on our campus that offers criminal justice courses as well as our professors, so there's great collaboration there," said HCTC President Steve Greiner.

President Greiner says there's already been plenty of interest in the program in its introductory year.

He expects even more students to enroll as the program's reputation grows.

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