West Texas Community Supervision and Corrections
Director Magdalena Morales-Aina
800 E. Overland
El Paso, Texas 79901-2516
Phone (915) 546-8120
Fax (915) 546-8130
West Texas Community Supervision and Corrections Department
- In the News
- Students in LEAPS consider other types of law enforcement
- Thursday, March 27, 2003
- Adriana M. Chávez El Paso Times
- Photos by Victor Calzada / El Paso Times
- El Paso Police Detective Mike Aman spoke to Job Corps students about terrorism Wednesday. LEAPS provides training for law-enforcement jobs. Job Corps student Ronald Pelech examines an example of a suspicious package. Students in the LEAPS program learn about support roles, such as accounting or language specialists, for law-enforcement agencies. Victor Calzada / El Paso Times Salvador Ramirez of the U.S. Customs answered a question from Joaquin Martinez.
- Agencies involved with the LEAPS To Success Law Enforcement And Public Service program include:
- - FBI. · Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
- - U.S. Border Patrol.
- - El Paso Community College.
- - Federal Bureau of Prisons.
- - El Paso Fire Department.
- - El Paso Police Department.
- - Texas Department of Public Safety.
- - David L. Carrasco Job Corps Center.
- - Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
- - West Texas Community Supervision and Corrections Department.
- - Juvenile Probation Department.
- - Texas A&M Colonias Program.
- - IRS/Criminal Investigations.
- - El Paso County Sheriff's Department.
- - University of Texas at El Paso Police Department.
- - U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
- - Environment Protection Agency.
- Information on the LEAPS program: 594-0022.
- Rosy Perez wants a career in law enforcement, but not as an officer or an agent, as most people would expect. She wants to become an FBI accountant. Perez, 22, a student at the David L. Carrasco Job Corps Center, is one of almost 100 students involved in the LEAPS To Success Law Enforcement And Public Service program. It was started last year by Luis A. Arias, a supervisory intelligence research specialist for the FBI, and Lt. Ray Rodriguez of the El Paso Police Department's Pebble Hills Regional Command Center. Arias got the idea for the program during a flight home from Quantico, Va., in March 2002. "Not everybody who works for the police department is an officer," Arias said. "There are various positions in agencies, and we want to bring to the students the various opportunities that may exist, such as computer specialists or language specialists."
- The program started in October with five agencies:
- - El Paso Police Department,
- - El Paso Fire Department,
- - U.S. Border Patrol,
- - Department of Public Safety and the FBI.
- Participation has ballooned to about 20 agencies, including the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the U.S. Postal Investigation Service and the El Paso County Sheriff's Department. Officials say LEAPS has received positive feedback from students. "Of course, some of them are more interested in one specific agency, but the whole purpose is to get interest and also to educate them to the fact that not everybody that works for the FBI is an agent. They also have clerks, cooks and mechanics," said Francisco "Paco" Sanchez, the counseling and career development supervisor with the job corps. "Since we have those trades at the center, we want for them to think along those lines and hopefully follow on." Although there are a variety of agencies available to give the weekly presentations to job corps students, Rodriguez said communication between the agencies is relatively smooth. "It's not just about the police department, and it's not just about the FBI; it's everybody," Rodriguez said. "Our main mission is for the kids and the community." Perez said she's been attending the weekly presentations since October, and is pleased with what she has learned. "If you put your mind to it, you can get there," Perez said. "They make it seem like it's a regular job that you like.
- It's a great program." Students are not only taught in a classroom, but are taken on occasional field trips to courthouses, detention centers and agency headquarters and field offices. Carla Corbett, 18, has been attending the program for about a month, and said she would like to become a psychiatrist for a government agency like the FBI. "It's looking at other aspects of law enforcement," Corbett said about LEAPS. "It's educational, and we do interesting things, like when we went out to the fire station Downtown." LEAPS organizers say their long-term goal is to allow students who enroll in the program to earn credit for law enforcement-related degree programs at El Paso Community College. "What it allows for is the opportunity for (job corps) students to get a wide range of different law-enforcement and public-service programs offered in the El Paso community," said Arvis Jones, a counselor at EPCC. "We're trying to develop credit programs for job corps students, so they can transition into EPCC and receive credit." Arias and Rodriguez say they hope the program will expand and one day be available to high-school students, and include more agencies. "The momentum is very strong," Arias said. "I had never expected it to grow this fast that quickly."