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  • Criminal Justice students were visited by the Fort Worth Police Department's Narcotics Division officers and a K9

    Contributed by Joy Cornwell, Campus Librarian

    On March 8, 2011, Fort Worth Police Officer Harold Cussnick and his police dog named Kelev addressed 20 of our Fort Worth Criminal Justice students, along with their instructor James Johansen and Degree Department Chair Scott Cogswell.

    Officer Cussnick presented a slide show detailing some of his experiences in drug trafficking operations and talked about his work with narcotics-detecting police dogs.

    How Writing Skills Can Help in a Criminal Justice Role

    Officer Cussnick has been in law enforcement for 20 years. During his presentation, he stressed to students the importance of soft skills such as reading, writing, and computation.

    He related how he used his writing skills to write a grant requesting $40,000 from the Federal government to purchase a police dog for the Fort Worth Narcotics Division and expand the division's programs. Officer Cussnick was happy to learn that our Fort Worth instructors incorporate coverage of soft skills in the classroom as part of our degree and diploma programs, including Criminal Justice.

    As a result of Office Cussnick's stellar grant-writing efforts, his division received all the funds requested, $5,000 of which were used to acquire Kelev, a Hebrew name meaning "dog and heart." The remaining funds were used to purchase a police vehicle, additional narcotics training for Kelev, dog toys, and the occasional visit to the vet.

    Amazing Facts About Canines and Their Sense of Smell

    While addressing the Criminal Justice students at our Fort Worth College, Officer Cussnick explained that dogs have an amazing two billion olfactory senses in their nose, while humans have only 40 million. In fact, dogs like Kelev are trained to smell up to 25 scents at the same time and can differentiate between the four basic narcotics odors: cocaine, methamphetamines, heroine, and marijuana. Officer Cussnick noted that Kelev can locate an ounce of crack cocaine in less than eight seconds.

    "Officer Cussnick provided valuable information regarding the procedures he personally went through to obtain his K9 and how it has changed him both personally and professionally. He served as a prime example of how man can create a lasting bond through faith and trust with his canine counterpart," said Mr. Johansen.

    Putting Officer Cussnick's Words to Work with Our Fort Worth Criminal Justice Students

    Driving home another of the important points made by Officer Cussnick, Mr. Johansen gave his students an assignment after the presentation: to write a research paper noting the importance of soft skills, and to include a reference page - adding a degree of difficulty to his writing assignment.

    "As Office Cussnick stated, it's important to have a good command of writing and comprehension skills as well as solid computation skills in the criminal justice field. He - and Kelev - are living proof of the positive impact that soft skills can have in any career field," noted Mr. Johansen.