Woodstock High School Career Pathway teacher Laura Antonelli talks about arresting suspects with Law Enforcement Services and Criminal Investigations sophomores Allie Crutchfield, left, and Ta'Sanee Sisavanh.
This week’s CCSD Pathway Profile focuses on Law Enforcement Services and Criminal Investigations, which is offered at Woodstock and Etowah High Schools. The Cherokee County School District offers 38 Career Pathway high school programs, which provide students with a wide selection of job exploration and preparation electives. Through CCSD Pathway Profiles, we regularly share highlights with you from one of these programs …
Woodstock High School senior Nicholas Pistone discovered his calling in a Career Pathway class.
He’s a student in the Law Enforcement Services and Criminal Investigations program led by Laura Antonelli, a Pathway also offered at Etowah High School. Cherokee, Creekview and River Ridge High Schools offer the Law Enforcement Services and Forensic Science program.
“At first, I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do. When I came into Ms. Antonelli's class and started to learn the different careers I could go into, it made me want to go into law enforcement,” he said. “I am so excited to be able to study what I am most interested in and want to thank Ms. Antonelli for opening my eyes and showing me how interesting criminal justice can be.”
Nicholas also has started volunteering with Woodstock Police Department and other community service events and plans to study criminal justice at Georgia Southern University.
Ms. Antonelli, who has led the program for the past eight years, can share many similar success stories of students who found their career path in her class. Stories like that of Griffin Cowart, who after high school graduated from the University of North Georgia’s criminal justice program and now works for the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office.
“This particular student's success story is near and dear to my heart because he and I attended the same university and he is working at the same agency where I began my career at the young age of 21,” she said. “I have no doubt that Griffin will be an outstanding, moral, just and ethical officer who will serve the citizens of our community well.”
Ms. Antonelli began her law enforcement career with the sheriff’s office in 2002, advancing to the rank of sergeant before leaving to pursue her teaching career. She earned a bachelor’s degree in forensic behavioral science, a master’s degree in criminal justice and a specialist degree in curriculum and instruction and now shares her expertise with students. [See more photos from her classes online here.]
“Career Pathway classes prepare our students to hit the ground running in their chosen career paths as soon as they graduate from high school. These Pathways open a student's eyes to all of the possibilities available to them that they might not have been exposed to otherwise,” she said. “Additionally, completion of a Pathway will allow a student to enter the chosen career field with more experience and knowledge than their counterparts of the same age, making them highly sought after by industry professionals.”
Her favorite lesson is teaching students how to “read” a crime scene and collect and preserve evidence.
“It is eye opening for the students because the groups are shown the same scene, but they do not all see the same evidence and come to the same conclusions,” she said. “This activity allows the students to work together just as a crime scene team would work together. Additionally, it shows the students how important attention to detail really is when working a scene.”
Within the Pathway, classes offered include: introduction to law, public safety, corrections and security; criminal justice essentials and criminal investigations. Students can earn CPR, first aid and OSHA industry certifications and can earn college credit by passing the end-of-Pathway assessment. They can compete in SkillsUSA state and national career skills contests.
This Pathway prepares students for careers including, but not limited to: sheriff, deputy sheriff, police chief, police officer, police patrol officer, police detective, criminal investigator, crime scene investigator, criminalist, crime analyst, forensic scientist, crime scene technician, forensic technician, fraud examiner, judge, district attorney, attorney, paralegal, legal assistant, court reporter, probation officer, correctional officer, private detective/investigator.
The average income range for careers in this Pathway in Georgia is $46,000 to $126,000. Local and area employers for this Pathway include, but are not limited to: Cherokee County School District Police Department, Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, Ball Ground Police Department, Canton Police Department, Holly Springs Police Department, Woodstock Police Department, Cherokee County District Attorney’s Office, Cherokee County superior, state, probate and magistrate courts and municipal courts, GBI, Atlanta and regional offices of federal law enforcement and public safety agencies, Reinhardt University Public Safety, Kennesaw State University Public Safety.