"Everything that concerns you"

The Eagle's Eye

"Everything that concerns you"

The Eagle's Eye

"Everything that concerns you"

The Eagle's Eye

CSI students learn valuable lessons

ABLLE students share their experiences in the CSI Practicum
Courtesy Sean Min
Correctional Service Internship Seniors show off their awards in their uniform after competition.

Strapping on a set of body armor and hustling with a team of corrections officers to remove an uncooperative inmate from a jail cell is just one activity that students in the Correctional Service Internship compete in.

Akins has one of the most competitive jail cell extraction teams in the state, winning multiple top awards in recent years at state competitions. This practicum program also allows students to learn about every aspect of correctional services and other career options in the law enforcement field.

Sean Min is a CTE law and public service teacher and the instructor of the CSI program. He worked in Los Angeles as a corrections officer in probation centers for both adult and juvenile detention. Min moved to Texas around 2008 before applying for a position at Akins.

“When I worked in juvenile prevention here in Travis County, I learned about the teaching position from the previous teacher, Mr. Lopez, who was leaving. I applied to take over for what he was doing,” Min said.

Students apply to join the internship program during their junior year by filling out an information packet, which includes their grades, attendance, and behavioral referrals. Students then write an essay that could earn them points to be eligible for the internship. In addition, they must go through an interview with a panel of officers.

The Correctional Service Interns visit the jails on Wednesday to job shadow, see how the jail works, and get any combat or life safety lessons. They visit the Del Valle Criminal Justice Complex and Travis County Jail where students are not allowed to have phones, jewelry or smartwatches.

Senior Matthew Ybarra participates in both the cell extraction team and is in charge of handcuffing uncooperative inmates in their competitions. He said he has had to learn a lot about safety when touring jails.

“There are a lot of things that we have to follow just to keep the jail safe,” Ybarra said. “If an inmate gets a hold of a phone it could just become a whole different situation.”

Ybarra said he originally joined his academy at Akins to learn about becoming a lawyer.

“. “I didn’t know at all that I was going to end up wanting to become a law enforcement officer,” he said.

The Akins cell extraction team competes in two competitions each year: Texas Public Safety Association (TPSA), and Texas Public Service Teachers Association (TXPSTA). These competitions offer a wide variety of categories. Some of the categories Akins CSI competes in are bookings, fingerprinting, and correctional institute design.

The one competition many are familiar with is cell extraction, which requires a group of students who perform different roles and tasks. Cell extraction is when an inmate refuses to leave their cell, and the interns must make a plan to extract the inmate with the least amount of effort and force.

Senior Maria Ramirez is the commanding officer in the cell extraction team. Her role in the cell extraction team is to shout verbal commands.

“One of the main challenges that we face is honestly making sure that we have the equipment together and making sure that we have ourselves together,” Ramirez said.

She also participated in the Correctional Institute Design competition with Martina Garcia, a CSI intern. Ramirez and Garcia drew a blueprint of a jail using Akins as a reference. They had to present their blueprint to officers during the competition and explain the layout. The duo won first place in TPSA’s regional competition.

Senior Joshua Sturgeon has had the opportunity to network with different deputies and officers in different types of law enforcement through the internship program. He also participates in ride-alongs, which allow him to sit with a deputy or officer on their shift. To be part of ride-alongs you must be eighteen and have a driver’s license.

“I’ve been right there with them when they roll up on a certain scene,” he said. “I’ve been on the scene when somebody died. I’ve been on the scene of serious collisions. I’ve been there for calls of family violence, domestic abuse, and even just a simple noise complaint.”

Sturgeon said he has learned a lot through his time in the corrections internship program.

“Overall I’m learning how to handle and how to operate in certain situations and what is warranted of me to make certain decisions,” he said. You’re not just gonna go in on a call, hot-headed ready to kick somebody in or arrest them.”

Marcelo Palacios contributed to this story.

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