Criminal Justice Event in Miami, Florida: FNU’s 1st Ever Criminal Justice Symposium

Professional Panel at the Criminal Justice Symposium
Professional Panel at the Criminal Justice Symposium

Since its inception, Florida National University (FNU) has recognized the valuable role criminal justice professionals play in modern society, which is exemplified through the creation of the Dr. Jose Regueiro Law Enforcement Award. To maintain its appreciation for the field, FNU organized its First Annual Criminal Justice Symposium on Wednesday, May 14, 2014, at FNU’s Hialeah Campus. The event took place during National Police Week to honor the Deputy Director of the Miami-Dade Police Department Juan Perez and educate the community, particularly the youth, about current criminal justice issues and trends affecting communities.

Florida National University (FNU) invited varied professionals within the criminal justice system, as well as Florida Senator Rene Garcia and Miami-Dade Commissioner Esteban Bovo, District 13, to discuss their involvement in protecting our community and refining the measures of our criminal justice system in all levels of government.

Prior to the discussion, FNU held a special reception to thank the panelists and invited dignitaries for their participation. Elected as the guest of honor for the symposium, Deputy Director Perez received the Dr. Jose Regueiro Law Enforcement Award during the reception. Upon receipt, Perez discussed the ethics of the criminal justice system, noting, “Law enforcement is a calling, not a profession.”

The panelists represented a wide range of criminal justice specialties, covering the innovations of CSI, the capacity of the private sector to combat terrorism, the interaction of mental health and the criminal justice system, and the duties of law enforcement officers.

Technological Advancements in CSI (Crime Scene Investigation)

Dr. Maria C. Regueiro, Dr. Omar Sanchez and Deputy Director Juan J. Perez

To initiate the symposium, King C. Brown, M.S., CSCSA, CFPH, CLPE, Crime Scene Supervisor of the West Palm Beach Police Department discussed pivotal technological advancements in CSI that have expedited the process of solving crimes over the last 30 years.

Recognizing the rapid proliferation of CSI TV shows, Brown analyzed the accuracy of such shows through an explanation of the CSI effect. Brown went on to discuss the ability of DNA to produce answers to crime scenes within a matter of 30 minutes, using computer systems that match and create profiles of DNA, along with other technological devices and photography to gather information before investigators leave a crime scene. With such things in place, the efficiency of CSI has increased.

Private Security Corporations and Terrorism

Representing privatized security companies, Victor Guembes, M.B.A., Branch Manager at Weiser Security Services, Inc. explained how the private sector works to combat global terrorism. Due to the new approach of private security since 9/11, the bar of security for law enforcement officers has increased. To put things into perspective, Guembes mentioned his involvement in the war in Iraq, citing the disdain that Iraqis have for the United States. Realizing that global terrorist threats are more imminent than ever before, Guembes emphasized the fact that being a security officer nowadays is more than just a commitment to our nation, but also to our fallen soldiers.

Dr. Maria C. Regueiro and Deputy Director Juan J. Perez

In order to prepare for potential attacks, police departments have also started to implement training for combating terrorist attacks. Nonetheless, Guembes disputed that private security entities have a greater responsibility to protect and enhance its services to clients, which has been achieved through the use of technology. Finally, Guembes noted that it is everyone’s responsibility to combat terrorism, regardless of profession or role in society, where people must always report suspicious activity.

Guembes recently graduated from FNU with an MBA and was the University’s Valedictorian for the Spring 2014 Commencement Ceremony. He recently was interviewed for FNU’s Student Success Story Blog. To read his story, please click on Victor Guembes – Valedictorian.

Mental Health and the Criminal Justice System

Charged with evaluating the motivations of sexual offenders, Dr. Eric Imhof, Forensic Psychologist, Specialized Treatment and Assessment Resources, P.A., discussed the findings of his work.

Since each offender takes a different angle for many reasons, Imhof explained that it is hard to pinpoint a specific problem. Although the impulses of sexual offenders conjure a “perfect storm,” Imhof mentioned that such criminals tend to have low rates of re-offense. To exemplify this fact, Imhof listed the different types of sexual offenders and their corresponding rates of re-offense. ,

Being immersed in the system for over 20 years, Imhof believes that housing people with mental health issues in prison leads to the misuse of valuable economic and physical resources, as many of the policies in place do not produce desirable results. In turn, Imhof works to protect the safety of the offenders he assists by presenting evidence that is intended to highlight therapeutic options for treatment.

Florida Senator Rene Garcia
Florida Senator Rene Garcia

Dr. Issac Paul Tourgeman, Neuropsychologist, M.S., continued the conversation of this interaction by discussing the connection between neuropsychology and forensics. Tourgeman’s presentation provided an overview of what neuropsychology achieves in the criminal justice system, as neuropsychologists are tasked with evaluating ability and recommending treatment for persons with disabilities, personal injury and behavioral issues. Through a neuropsychologist’s work, criminal justice professionals can determine how to properly address a person’s offense in the courts.

The Increased Need for Private Security Officers

Due to the increasing presence of private security officers in the criminal justice system, Carlos Rivera, President/CEO of Regions Security Services, Inc. briefly examined the growth of related careers, noting that private law positions are expected to grow 18% by 2020. Rivera bolstered his statement by providing statistics about how often crimes occur in Miami and nationally. Seeking to educate those interested in a private security career, Rivera finished by discussing the requirements and licensure procedures in the state of Florida.

Inspiration for the Future

Selected as the finishing touch of the symposium, James Ward, Retired Law Enforcement Officer/SWAT Team Member who specialized in Gang Intelligence, provided an anecdote about how he decided to become involved in law enforcement.

Commissioner Esteban Bovo, Miami-Dade County, District 13
Commissioner Esteban Bovo, Miami-Dade County, District 13

Despite the competitiveness of the law enforcement field, Ward was determined to make the community safer and now works to motivate people to join law enforcement. Through his discussion on protecting the community from gang violence, Ward urged the crowd to work together to dismantle the reach of gangs, starting with the degree of involvement that parents have in their children’s lives.

Community Activism at Florida National University

Due to the unrivaled success of the First Annual Criminal Justice Symposium, Florida National University (FNU) will continue to host more symposiums in the future, namely those that focus on business and health services. To learn more about similar opportunities at FNU, contact us today!