Too often I have received blank stares, eye rolls, and unnecessary arguments when mentioning my passion for work in the criminal justice system. At Liberty, the Criminal Justice program falls under the Helms School of Government because there is a need for understanding the basics of our governmental system in order to thrive in criminal justice. What is misunderstood is that because of this connection, there comes loyalty to a certain political party or an association with politics in general. While each and every person has their own beliefs and stance on certain issues, when it comes to criminal justice professionals, politics are kept personal.
One of the pillars of character when working in the system is loyalty and integrity. When on the job, no matter what job that may be, you are responsible for the well being of everyone in your community and sometimes your country. If you are serving as a local policeman or with the Sherriff’s Department then the authorities that you answer to are the Mayor, Governor, and State Representatives. Every 2-4 years that authority changes along with the political stances of whoever is in office. With that shift, the only thing that stays consistent are those working within the justice system as police, correctional officers, investigators, security personnel, and any other non-elected official. As mentioned before, loyalty is not taken lightly in any of these professions. Disagreements in politics are common in any profession, but when it comes to those that are responsible for protecting and serving, all differences must be put aside for the good of those being protected and served.
In many of my classes, we have been instructed to avoid posting on social media our political preferences for the sake of neutrality. Many individuals that go into national security follow this as an unspoken rule to ensure that those being protected know they can trust them with their lives. Like always there is a certain group of people that will show where their true loyalties lie and they allow that to affect their professionalism, but overall the criminal justice field must not be lumped in with the political agenda of whoever is in office. For those that are truly passionate and risking their lives every day for their community and their country, it has absolutely nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with providing a safe environment for the citizens that they serve.