A Day at BJU Criminal Justice EDUcamp

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Camper at BJU criminal justice EDUcamp

The Criminal Justice EDUcamp at BJU gives high schoolers a glimpse of a life in the legal world. From the dive team to active shooting training, the camp covers crucial aspects of safety and the law. Even a trip to the courthouse teaches about one of the field’s many work environments.

Two other sessions—self-defense training and the bomb team—teach campers specifics about safety in high-risk situations.

See Also: EDUcamp: Explore Your Future

The Art of Fighting Back

Unlike what television shows portray, violence is not the goal of law enforcement. However, it is at times a necessary tactic, even for Christians. Ben Tice (‘07, Criminal Justice)—former Greenville County Deputy Sheriff and police officer—prefaced the self-defense session with biblical support for self-defense. He explained that not only did the Israelites use weapons, but the Bible also supports protecting yourself and your family. But violence is not intended for retaliation.

Tice also taught that self-defense requires discernment. Asking yourself certain questions helps you decide if and when you should respond defensively. What is this person’s body language saying? Is he refusing to keep talking? Avoid a fight until the other person decides for you—it is self-defense, not self-offense.

Facing Resistance

At the BJU Criminal Justice EDUcamp, campers learned that aggression often accompanies resistance. With volunteers flying, Tice (safely) demonstrated that shoving with the heel of the hand is more effective than punching. Campers practiced proper kicking techniques like shin strikes. With calls to “Get back!” Tice also used loud verbal commands to emphasize his actions.

Tice mentioned what not to do as well. First, he said not to throw things, especially possessions of spectators trying to see or record everything you do. Second, he said not to hold up your hands to settle rowdy people; that action creates an image of submission. With fists raised, he assumed a fighting stance instead.

Passive resistance—refusing to move—requires a different approach. During the demonstration, “rebellious” campers refused either to stand up while protesting or to stop their domestic violence. Tice used their pressure points—including ones on the neck and under the arm—until they complied.

When Life Is at Stake

The goal in law enforcement is to use a gun to create distance between you and danger, avoiding hand-to-hand combat if possible. But sometimes physical interaction is necessary, especially when your opponent has a weapon and you don’t. In this situation persistence is imperative. As Tice said, “If you stop fighting, you die.” To illustrate, he, with a whoosh and a thud, threw armed campers to the ground and stood over them in triumph, gun in hand.

Tice also said it is best to go into combat expecting to get hurt, understanding that self-defense tactics help decrease the chances of serious injury.

But self-defense also gives you the opportunity to inflict pain. Tice emphasized that frequently: “It hurts … That hurts, doesn’t it? … I’m not going to do it hard on you because it really hurts.” Defensive tactics give you an edge over your opponent, whether you push a pressure point or bend a wrist, sometimes to the breaking point.

A Visit from the Bomb Squad

The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office’s Hazardous Devices Unit also came to campus to show-and-tell at the Criminal Justice EDUcamp. The men demonstrated various methods of dealing with potential bomb threats.

First, X-rays are for more than broken bones. Campers saw they can also reveal potential bombs.

Next, the men showed how they can expose a bomb using water. They set up a water-filled chrome structure next to a “bomb threat.” With a bang, the water shot a hole in the “suspicious” bag without affecting the potential bomb.

Another piece of equipment the unit brought was the bomb disposal robot. Campers had the opportunity to see and control “Juice”—a 400-pound robot that examines potentially hazardous devices. With its responsive controls, it can climb stairs or even clean out an entire car when searching for a bomb.

The unit also brought a bomb suit, used during direct contact with a bomb—a last measure. A helmet and three pieces of thick material—totaling 70 pounds—protect against shrapnel. The hands are exposed for dexterity, and since covering the feet is not particularly effective, they too are uncovered.

After an action-packed week at the BJU Criminal Justice EDUcamp, campers have an idea of what to expect in a criminal justice major or a career in law enforcement.