ACE Students Develop Security Plan for At-Risk Youth

Security Plan

Homeland Security students provide a security plan for local juvenile justice program.

A Security Studies class at Sam Houston State University will develop security plans for the Gulf Coast Trades Center, a Walker County facility which provides education and training in vocational skills for at-risk youth from the juvenile justice system.

The residential program, located outside New Waverly, operates as an open campus, which stresses coaching and teaching rather than controlling and punishing youth to attain positive development and long-term behavioral change. Students in the program can finish high school or attain their Graduate Equivalency Diploma through the Raven School and learn a trade in automotive, building maintenance, bricklaying and masonry, business information systems, or culinary arts.

“We are excited to have Dr. Dozier and his students take a look at security related issues at Gulf Coast Trades Center,” said Tony D’Cunha, Assistant Director of Gulf Coast Trade Center. “It never hurts to have fresh eyes looking at us, and in this regard, I am looking forward to reviewing the findings and recommendations of this study.”

The Security Studies class project is part of the Academic Community Engagement program at Sam Houston State University, where college students combine community service with lessons learned in the classroom. The project will be conducted by Dr. Jim Dozier’s graduate level class in Security and Management.

Logos for STAFS“It’s nice that we just don’t read stuff that comes out of a book, but we now get to go out in the field and make something out of what we are learning,” said Spencer Copeland, a graduate student.
Ileana Bolanos is looking forward to applying the knowledge she has gained in the Master of Science in Homeland Security program. “It gives us hands-on experience,” she said.

Gulf Coast Regional Trade Center has a large campus composed of portable trailers, classrooms, and dormitories and is located in Sam Houston National Forest. The campus provides challenges in securing students on site while avoiding threats from outside sources.

Providing a security assessment for a non-profit organization would force us to think outside the box, because of their very limited resources,” said Ezequiel Mendez, another master’s student. “However, because students are learning trades like carpentry that will make them productive members of society, we can also have them use their skills to make their campus safer.”

Andrew Robinson also said the philosophy of rehabilitation also provide a unique opportunity to develop plans that keep students and the campus safe. “We want to avoid any physical labels because these are good students,” he said.

Mendez praised the Security Studies program for providing outside practical experience for college students to include on their resumes

“I think this is a project that speaks well for the program,” said Mendez. “We have several opportunities to do things like this. These opportunities make us more employable because not only do you need the degree, but you also need experience.”

Previous ACE projects in Security Studies included creating safety plan for a community for developmentally disabled adults as well as certifying students as Citizen Emergency Response Team members for the Huntsville community.

To help develop a security plan, the class met with Terry K. King from Securadyne Systems, a business that develops security solutions for the oil and gas industry, federal and municipal services, health care, electric utilities, education and pharmaceutical and life sciences customers. King discussed the process they use to address security in various settings.

“He told us how his business works, step-by-step,” said Jennifer Miranda, another student. “You have to think ahead of time about what you will be looking at and what you need to address,” said Miranda.

Member of The Texas State University System