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Two seniors at the top of their Criminal Justice Management (CJM) class spent five days earlier this month at the annual American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) convention in Philadelphia.
Neil Raddu and Bryan Bellegarde attended the gathering, along with Professor and CJM Director Kimberly Charbonneau, from September 8th through the 13th with all expenses paid, courtesy of Nichols alumnus James Dunbar, who sponsors two Nichols students every year. Dunbar founded one of the country’s largest armored car companies.
“It’s the largest private and public law enforcement conference in the United States, with as many as 30,000 people attending,” Charbonneau says, adding that ASIS Law Enforcement Scholarship winners not only must have high grade point averages but also have to excel in an essay competition about what they could bring to the security field based on their Nichols education.
“Because Mr. Dunbar has been successful in the private sector, he wanted to expose Nichols students to that side of the security business,” Charbonneau explains, noting that Dunbar helped shape the CJM program at Nichols eight years ago. He established the scholarships four years later. Charbonneau adds that interest in private security management—from preventing losses in retail chains to maintaining safe environments in hospitals and providing personal protection to corporate executives—has grown in recent years as employment opportunities in the public sector have faced budget cuts at the federal, state and local levels.
Raddu, who spent part of his time at the conference networking and studying the vast displays of security technology, found his education in CJM a valuable asset going forward. “Education was the main focus and how a four-year degree is so important,” Raddu says. “Then you aim for the field of your choice.”
“It was a great place to meet people and network,” Raddu continues. “The people there tell you everything you need to know in order to be successful.”
Besides spending most of their time at the convention, Raddu and Bellegarde also received a behind-the-scenes tour of security at the Comcast Center, which hosted the gathering, as well as a close-up look at the main Dunbar facility, including its sizeable and well-protected money room.
Keeping the public sector in view, they also visited Pennsylvania’s Easton State Penitentiary, home at one time to notorious gangster Al Capone.