by Sandy Gholston - July 12, 2010
Joy Paquette, the product of a quality School of Criminal Justice education, is proud to be employed as a police officer at her alma mater.
Paquette, who has been employed at Ferris since 1998, earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Ferris in Criminal Justice and her master's from Ferris in Criminal Justice Administration. Additionally, she is trained as a fire fighter, a first responder and has been employed as a part-time fire fighter for the City of Big Rapids. Paquette's credentials, along with her loyalty to Ferris and commitment to the community, are impeccable and proof that a Ferris education can set the stage for a successful career even in a field where women tend to be dramatically outnumbered by men.
Breaking down the BarriersBarriers, however, continue to fall and Paquette sees more opportunities for young women that truly are interested in a career in law enforcement.
"I would love to see more women in law enforcement because usually there are just a few per department," said Paquette, who mentioned that her sergeant, 25-year veteran Diana Hepler, is a School of Criminal Justice graduate (as are two women officers in the Big Rapids area). "Young women who think that they are interested in this kind of a career should go to their local law enforcement agency and ask about a ride-along to get a better feel for whether or not they are interested. I tell students to try that with every career."
Paquette, who works evenings, has a list of duties that includes crime prevention, responding to emergency calls, and protecting persons and property. Her duties may sound standard, but they are not easy and she has the training to prove as much. Paquette has received training in Rape Aggression Defense and is part of an effort to educate the campus and the community on issues related to rape. The education aspect of law enforcement is important to her. Highly approachable, Paquette loves interactions with students and community members as she works on one of the primary focuses of her job – crime prevention.
Years in the MakingIn high school, Paquette says she knew she wanted to be a police officer, and soon discovered Ferris' widely-respected Criminal Justice program was in her future.
Ferris' School of Criminal Justice doesn't take a backseat to many – if any.
"Ferris does have one of the best reputations for criminal justice and I was privileged to have gone here and loved the program," Paquette said. "Once you graduate from Ferris you are a certified officer. You no longer have to go through an academy because you've gone through the academy here. Since you've already graduated here you have that extra 20 weeks above and beyond other people in looking for a job as an advantage."
Take Advantage of the PossibilitiesPaquette wants women to feel encouraged about the possibilities and to feel confident that their dreams do not have to be limited by gender.
"I would tell any women to take it as a challenge. There are definitely more men," said Paquette, who balances life as a mother with her job as a police officer. "We, as women, can be just as successful as men. In the old days, they may not have thought women could handle it, but women have proven they can handle it."