EVIT, military prepare alum for law enforcement career

EVIT, military prepare alum for law enforcement career
Posted on 12/07/2021
Now in the military, Erick got his start at EVIT

At age 20, Erick Rodriguez works with Patriot missile systems in the U.S. Army and recently returned from a 12-month combat deployment in Saudi Arabia. His military experience combined with the training he received in EVIT’s Criminal Justice program is preparing him for his ultimate goal: a law enforcement career. 

“It’s a field I’ve been interested in my entire life,” said Rodriguez, who completed the Criminal Justice program in 2019.

Criminal Justice is one of over 40 high school career training programs offered tuition-free at the East Valley Institute of Technology. Students spend a half day at their high school and a half day at EVIT. Tuition-based programs for adults are also offered, with financial aid available in some programs for those who qualify. 

Rodriguez attended EVIT during his junior and senior years at Tempe High School. The Criminal Justice program includes physical training, as well as crime scene investigations, interrogation skills, and court, jail and police functions, so students in that program are often seen running and doing strength training at the EVIT Main Campus. “If it weren’t for (the Criminal Justice program), I wouldn’t be in the physical shape and health state I am now,” Rodriguez said. 

He said the physical training he received at EVIT helped prepare him for the physical rigor required in the Army, where his military occupational specialty is 14T – Patriot Launching Station Enhanced Operator/Maintainer. 

Alumni of EVIT’s Criminal Justice program have often gone on to serve in the military. In Rodriguez’s class, 40 percent went into the military after completing their EVIT training. Rodriguez said he has enjoyed being in the Army, especially meeting people and soldiers “from all different walks of life.” But his career goal is to serve his local community in law enforcement. 

“I plan to finish my contract in the Army and afterwards come back to Arizona and pursue a law enforcement career with either Tempe (Police Department) or Phoenix PD,” he said, adding that his EVIT training will be helpful to him in a police career. 

Students in Criminal Justice gain a strong foundation in interpersonal and soft skills, which is helpful in careers in law enforcement, courts, jails, correctional institutions, and probation and parole. Those who turn 18 before completing the program may earn their Arizona Security Guard Card, allowing them to work in the field once their training is completed. EVIT students also have the opportunity to earn up to 19 dual enrollment credit hours from Chandler-Gilbert Community College. EVIT is expanding the Criminal Justice program next year to also be offered at the Power Campus, 6625 S. Power Road, Mesa.

odriguez said EVIT is a valuable experience for high school students, adding that it “gives you a grasp and idea of what your potential career can look like.” 

EVIT students have a 98% high school graduation rate, 2 out of 3 go on to college and 94% are in jobs related to their program, college or the military within a year of completing their training.

igh school enrollment for 2022-23 is underway. Public, charter, private and home-schooled students who live in the East Valley can apply at www.evit.com/enroll.

Adults may enroll in EVIT’s high school programs if space is available. EVIT also offers 12 post-secondary programs for adults: Aesthetics, Collision Repair, Cosmetology, George Brazil Plumbing Service & Repair Technician, Emergency Medical Technician, Heating Ventilation Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR), Massage Therapy, Nursing Assistant, Practical Nurse, Sterile Processing Technician, Surgical Technology and Welding.  For more information about adult programs, call (480) 461-4013.

Erick’s Career Path:

  • Completed EVIT Criminal Justice in 2019
  • Joined the U.S. Army
  • Completed 12-month combat deployment in Saudi Arabia
  • Current Military Occupational Specialty: 14T – Patriot Launching Station Enhanced Operator/Maintainer
  • Future plans: Pursue law enforcement career in Arizona

Get started on a career while in high school:

How to enroll in high school programs at EVIT:

  • Complete and submit application online at www.evit.com/enroll
  • Parents/legal guardians of new students will need an active email account to access and use the online registration system
  • Upload attendance record, discipline record, current unofficial transcripts and proof of immunizations
  • Admissions office will inform students via email once application is approved or if more information is needed
  • EVIT is for all high school students – public, charter, private or home-schooled – who reside in one of 11 East Valley school districts: Apache Junction, Cave Creek, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Gilbert, Higley, J.O. Combs, Mesa, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, Tempe
  • More information: Call (480) 461-4108

How to enroll in adult programs at EVIT: