On May 22, students here at CSUSB attended the Criminal Justice Alumni Career Panel. The panel consisted of three CSUSB alumni who have all entered the field of Criminal Justice and came back to CSUSB to offer some insight on what they do.
Melanie Aguayo is a Deputy Sheriff who graduated in 2016 here at CSUSB, where she was a student-athlete on the Women’s Soccer team. Shortly after graduating in June 2016 she found herself in the Police Academy just one month after graduation. Deputy Aguayo attended the academy for six months and was then transferred to West Valley Detention Center where she is doing CCU-Detail, which involves classifications and gang-intel. Deputy Aguayo is a C2 meaning she trains deputies inside the jail on gang-units.
Pascual Maldonado is a Deputy in the Riverside County Sheriffs Department and CSUSB alumni who graduated in 2011. Right after graduation, he went in the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Academy.
Three months after he graduated from the academy, Deputy Maldonado was hired to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department where he’s been the last seven years. Deputy Maldonado is currently assigned to the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, CA. It’s the largest jail in Riverside County with over 1700 inmates.
Currently, Deputy Maldonado works doing all operations, where it’s running the daily-order-of-business in the Correctional Facility. More specifically, as of now, Deputy Maldonado is in charge of the Fire-team where they’re trained through drills and power-points to brief people on what goes on inside the Correctional Facility.
Brittany Rios is a Media Specialist for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Public Affairs Division. Rios graduated here in 2012 and in that same year started as an Intern in the Juvenile Prevention Program where she did it for two years.
After the internship, Rios went back to school to get her Masters. At the same time, the Sheriff’s department was looking to add more mass-media, and Rios was selected to do the mass-media for the Sheriff’s department. Rios explains that her job is to “Manage the image of the Sheriffs Department.”
The alumni, after introducing themselves and what they do, explained what they learned here at CSUSB and what has helped them in their professional careers.
“You get used to being in uncomfortable situations, it’s just something that becomes part of life,” Rios said.
Deputy Aguayo mentions that the biggest thing she learned here at CSUSB was time-management.
“Time-management is key,” Aguayo said. “Don’t put off anything.”
As a former student-athlete managing time ended-up becoming one of her biggest strengths now at the Sheriffs Department. Deputy Aguayo also recommends to students to “gain a bunch of knowledge because that degree sets you apart from the rest.”
Deputy Maldonado mentions that here at CSUSB he learned a lot about writing, something he didn’t expect to play such a huge role with his job now.
“During the academy, you have to write so many memos, and that’s something I learned here at CSUSB,” Maldonado said.
The Alumni panel then offered some suggestions for the next-generation entering Law-Enforcement. Deputy Maldonado heavily emphasized how important it is to network yourself.
“Network yourselves, talk with your professors, they have the experience,” Maldonado said. “You guys are paying for these resources.”
Deputy Aguayo also stressed the importance of networking.
“Networking is huge! It’s who you know,” Rios said. “Gotta get your names and your faces out there, get your foot in the door.”
When applying for the Sheriff’s Academy there is a background check that must be done and that takes anywhere from three-to-six-months.
“Apply during school to give you time to do the background,” Maldonado said.
Integrity is a huge component in any Law-Enforcement division. Honesty and integrity are a big part of law enforcement. Think twice about your actions if you’re serious about law-enforcement. If not it’ll come back to you eventually.
“Integrity means doing the right thing when no ones looking,” Aguayo said. “You lie you die.”
Deputy Maldonado also taught a very valuable lesson to students on-hand.
“It’s gonna change you, (being a deputy) the way you are, the way you’re around your family,” Maldonado said. “It’s gonna change the way you go about things.”
But in the end, it’s all about justice. All three alumni expressed that justice is the reason why they do it. At the end of the day, all three said that they want to save and improve lives.
“You will see things you cannot imagine,” Aguayo said. “Be mentally prepared and have a strong support system.”