Clarkdale students learn how computers, law enforcement agencies work together

By Staff
GRAND TOUR n Maj. Ward Calhoun of the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department shows Clarkdale eighth-graders how computers are the "hub of law enforcement" in the jail's booking area. Students pictured from left are Ashley Wheaton, Joey Baldwin, Jonathan Waltman and Calvin Eastman. Photo by Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star.
By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
Jan. 25, 2001
A group of eighth-graders at Clarkdale Attendance Center toured the Lauderdale County Detention Facility Wednesday to see exactly how technology is used in law enforcement.
The 28 students are members of DeShannon Davis's computer discovery class, a tech-prep class that provides the only credit toward graduation an eighth-grader can get until they enter ninth grade.
The year-long course is in its third year at Clarkdale. Students first learn to type 30 words a minute with no errors. They type reports, letters, memos and press releases. They learn desktop publishing, databases, word processing, spreadsheets, telecommunications and Internet use.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie spoke to the students about technological advancement in the sheriff's department.
Maj. Ward Calhoun then led them on a tour of the jail. Sgt. Michael Street and Clarkdale's School Resource Officer Andy Matuszewski helped show students how technology makes law enforcement safer and more efficient.
The eighth-graders toured cellblocks and control towers, the master control room and booking area. They learned about the National Crime Information Center database, which records criminal histories and helps authorities track criminals across the country. They learned about fingerprinting, the jail door's electronic locking systems, video cameras in police cruisers and computers that monitor cells and inmates' outdoor activities.
A Mississippi Department of Corrections officer showed them how technology is used in house arrest. She showed them a transmitter worn on the wrist or ankle that is picked up by a monitor plugged into the person's telephone outlet letting authorities know what time those under house arrest leave for work and get home.
Dru Miller said he enjoyed seeing how the system works.
Jeremy Street said he liked the monitors.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at