David Stratton ’19 shares his devotion to justice
By Matthew Gregoire ’18
On a sunny afternoon, I entered Baggot Street Café to meet with David Stratton ’19 of Raymond, Maine. My assignment was to interview David about his experience as a criminal justice major, but I had never met him before. I imagined someone intimidating in stature and demeanor, someone befitting of the police stereotype so often perpetuated in the media these past few years. But, when David finally approached to introduce himself, he overturned that stereotype. Well spoken with a very kind presence, I sensed that David would become a policeman that anyone would feel comfortable approaching.
Many children can remember a time when they wanted to be a police officer. David isn’t sure how old he was when his desire to become a detective took hold of him, but his passion for this career guides much of what he does, on campus as a criminal justice major and off campus as a security guard.
“I just knew that’s what I wanted to do, I can’t remember any one thing that started it. I just knew that’s where I wanted to go,” David said.
At the age of 15, David joined the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office Explorer Post 3. The Explorer program is built to teach leadership and community skills that can be applied to any profession, with a more specific focus on law enforcement.
The passion for becoming a police detective drove him to enroll at Saint Joseph’s College as a criminal justice major. David’s aunt, a Saint Joseph’s College staff member, helped him to discover the program after she learned about it on campus one day and remembered her nephew’s interest in criminal justice. Saint Joseph’s criminal justice program familiarizes students with the theory and practice of crime, justice, and the United States criminal justice system. Students majoring in criminal justice, like David, receive a foundation in theory and research as well as opportunities for practical application through research.
In the five years since joining Explorer Post 3, David has accrued 300 hours worth of community service hours, an admirable record. He takes part in countless events, including spaghetti dinners, bottle drives, and honor guard detail. Last year, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office recognized David’s accomplishment with the Outstanding Achievement Award. In addition to his community service, David has participated twice in the Maine Youth Law Enforcement Explorer Academy. He first attended as a cadet–training with drills in stopping traffic and clearing buildings–before moving up the ranks to help teach others those same skills.
David gains experience in criminal justice through his job as a security guard at the Maine Mall. A year and a half ago, he was recommended for the job based on his stellar reputation. From patrolling on foot through the building to cruising the parking lots in a vehicle to handling dispatch duties, David says he’s “getting a taste of what it’s like to be in the criminal justice field.”
Once he graduates, David plans to continue on the path of becoming a detective. Given how hard he’s working at building the skills and the reputation needed to enter this field, it’s clear that he will excel at it.
The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice program covers social science research, criminology, race and ethnic relations, and human nature and ethics. Students could also choose to minor in Criminal Justice.