Monday, February 18, 2019
by Kathryn Holleman • email@example.com
BJC, BJH | “Just look at these kids,” whispers Dorian Hobbs. “They’re phenomenal.”
Thirteen seniors from the North Technical High School law enforcement program stood in a semicircle in the Mid Campus Center (MCC) lobby at the Washington University Medical Campus Feb. 4. They’d come for a tour of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital public safety department, and they listened intently as department manager Dave Doetzel introduced himself and gave an overview of the department.
“Just look at them. They’re paying attention, they’re making eye contact, they’re respectful,” says Hobbs, watching nearby.
As a BJH talent acquisition manager and longtime area basketball referee, Hobbs knows exceptional ability and attitude when he sees it. And he sees it in this class.
An exceptional group
Hobbs first connected with the class earlier in the school year, when Jennifer Irvin, BJC School Outreach and Youth Development school-community health education partner, asked him to share job interviewing tips and conduct mock interviews with the students to help prepare them to enter the job market after graduation.
He was struck by the maturity, thoughtfulness and sense of purpose class members displayed. The students performed better in mock interviews than many adults he had encountered in real interviews, Hobbs says.
“They have such an adult attitude,” he says. “I just fell in love with these kids.”
After the initial meeting and mock interviews, Hobbs returned to talk to the class, and ended up spending more than an hour in a wide-ranging discussion. The more he talked to them, the more impressed he was.
He found that class members hoped to be a force for positive change, both in law enforcement and in the community. They viewed their careers as opportunities to serve others.
“They’re making a commitment to make a difference,” says Hobbs.
The class had already toured public law enforcement agencies in the area. Hobbs wanted them to see another career option — a private department with the professionalism, equipment and technology to rival any public force and the mission “to improve the health and wellbeing of the communities it serves.”
With Irvin’s help, Hobbs helped coordinate the tour.
Touring with North Tech
In the sun-filled MCC lobby, Doetzel begins the tour by sharing statistics about the Washington University Medical Campus with the North Tech students. Patrolling the campus — more than 6 million square feet on about 17 city blocks, with 10,000 employees and beds for more than 1,200 patients, not to mention outpatients, family and visitors — is similar to patrolling a small city, he says.
He takes the students through the department offices, pointing out the administration, badging and detectives’ areas. He shows them the dispatch/video monitoring room where employees watch live, closed-circuit video feeds from about 1,700 security cameras placed throughout the campus.
Next, Doetzel takes the students to the spacious incident command center shared by BJH and Washington University. It’s equipped for managing emergency incidents ranging from utility interruptions to mass casualty disasters.
He notes that BJH’s Level 1 trauma status and leading-edge medical care can actually pose special challenges for the BJH public safety officers.
“We take care of the worst traumas and the sickest patients,” he says. “That means that families are under stress. There’s a lot of emotion when you’re dealing with people who’ve been told their son’s been hurt or their father is having a heart attack.” Officers need to be aware of how emotion or stress is driving people’s actions and react accordingly, he says.
On the positive side, working in a center that provides extraordinary care — from lifesaving trauma surgery to organ transplant programs and a nationally acclaimed trauma center — is also a source of extraordinary pride, Hobbs adds.
Doetzel then takes the students through the campus bike patrol center, explaining the patrol’s crucial role in keeping the area safe.
He ends the tour in the adjacent public safety training academy, where manager Scott Topal describes the 28-day training program for new hires. The curriculum is very similar to that of a police academy, he says.
Students pepper Topal with questions, including one that makes Hobbs smile:
“How old do you have to be to be hired as an officer?”
The North Tech students found that they’d have to wait a few years (until age 21) to be eligible for hire by the BJH public safety department. But Hobbs makes no secret of the fact that he’d be happy if at least a few of the class members come back to apply.
Wherever they choose to work, the class is likely to excel, he says. He credits their teacher, Clarence Hines, a retired St. Louis City police officer, with helping the students use their natural abilities to the fullest and strive for achievement. The two-year law enforcement program at North Tech is a full immersion into preparing for the rigors and demands of a career in public safety, and Hines brings real-world experience to his students daily.
For instance, says Hobbs, Hines helped coach a team of North Tech law enforcement students to second place overall in the Missouri Constitution Project mock trial and crime scene investigation competition for high schools from across the state. It was their first time to reach the competition’s finals.
Coincidentally, on the morning of the BJH tour, Hines had been announced as the St. Louis County Special School District’s Teacher of the Year. When he’s congratulated on the honor, he takes a page from
“Thank you. These kids,” he says nodding toward the class, “they made me look good.”
Number of views (935)/Comments (2)
2/18/2019 4:31 PM
What a great story!! Thanks for visiting students!!
2/20/2019 12:20 PM
This is a fine example of someone with real life experience educating the next generation of young people to be productive members of society. Experiential education allows the opportunity to provide young people with a different approach from the traditional classroom. BJC taking part is a smart way to expose students to the healthcare environment in a way that may not have been on their radar.