Campus News

Former daycare building to become criminal justice building

Rachel Mallory

Reporting 2 Student

Butler Community College of El Dorado will soon welcome a new addition to campus. What used to be a day care center may be a refurbished Criminal Justice building. Chief of Campus Police Josh Lebeda said he hopes to provide students with an integrated learning experience and create “homegrown officers.” 

Lebeda says Professor Miles Erpelding of the Criminal Justice Department initially brought the idea of a building similar to the Fire Science building to the table. The Fire Science building is off campus, located at 2610 West 6th Ave. With Lebeda’s support, they were able to bring the idea to the Board of Trustees, although it has not come to the full board for a vote.  

Last week, a few professors and staff met with the Board of Trustees to discuss monetary issues. The department and the college are concerned about costs of renovations and expansion. 

“The building would ideally profit, and agencies would utilize the building for training (police officers), instructors would teach…” Lebeda said. “However, with budget constraints, things aren’t certain.”   

Unfortunately, not much has been said about the future of the Criminal Justice Department upgrade. It will take over the site of what used to be EduCare (the 1600 building on the El Dorado campus). There are renovations going on currently, but there have not been any relocation updates about the Criminal Justice facility from the college.  

A meeting took place Monday, Sept. 27, with those involved.  

Dean of Health Education and Public Service Julio Guerrero said the project is, in fact, moving forward. As far as is known, the facility will be mostly police force training with Criminal Justice academics (classrooms, offices etc.). Not much was said monetarily. The budget still seems to remain around $800,000 for renovations and equipment, but there seems to be progress for the development of the Criminal Justice building. 

Criminal Justice Professor Jeff Tymony said that the building is not a criminal justice facility, rather, a public safety building.  

“When you talk about providing a public safety building with the intent of training law enforcement, that’s not criminal justice,” Tymony said. “Criminal Justice is the academic research…of how the criminal justice system responds to crime. To ask students to come to see me in an office in a police building is unethical… I won’t office down there; it’s just an ethical problem with me.”  

He said he will teach in classrooms if the department needs him, as long as there is a wall that separates the officers from the classrooms.  

“Training and academia are not the same thing,” Tymony said.

 Tymony expressed his desire for better police training on sexual assault cases. “I’m not anti-police… I just want them better at what they do.”  

He said there has never been a shooting on campus, yet the college’s biggest problem is sexual assault.  

Disagreements within the department, budget concerns and renovation progression all factor into the slow development of the Criminal Justice/Public Safety building.

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