Ashley Talks West-MEC’s Law, Public Safety & Security Program

Ashley Herrera is a superstar student in West-MEC’s Law, Public Safety & Security class. She is an AP and honor student who has received multiple principle and superintendent list awards for her academic work. Ashley serves in the Maricopa County Teen Court as the victim Advocate. As the victim advocate, she has had the opportunity to represent and stand for the community.

Q. Can you tell us about your involvement in WEST MEC?

A. As a student in the law, public safety and security program it has helped me gain a better understanding of the justice system and how our rights as citizens are protected by the American constitution. Throughout the program we are taught about the history of law enforcement, first aid, forensics, defensive tactics and the use of force. We as teens aren’t really exposed to the rules of the real world and its system. This program allows one to identify the true purpose of first responders and how they properly function.

Q. How did the opportunity serve as the victim advocate come about?

A. As a quiet and shy person, it never occurred to me to take a specific role in teen court. My classmates were the ones who encouraged me and believed in me that I could take leadership. The first couple of times were pretty harsh for me since I was not able to fully project my voice. As time passed, I got more comfortable speaking in front of people and asking questions. Since then I have increased my levels of self-confidence. As the victim advocate, I have had the privilege to represent various people such as the victim or victims, business, friends, families and neighbors who have been affected by the juvenile’s actions in their community. It allowed me to stand and speak for the affected community who cannot be present. I believe that I will have a lasting impression on the community for many years to come.

Q. You are also a runner what has been your favorite running event?

A. Running the IMS half marathon of 2013 has been my most memorable and favorite running event. At 13 years old, I was able to run my first half marathon. I remember being super nervous and fearful as I did not know what awaited me at the starting line. At the end, I managed to over clam my fear and just run. Along the way I meet many people from different states, background and ethnicity. It was pretty nice to hear their short stories and goals about their previous or future runs. The one goal overall was to cross the finish line no matter what pace or time one finishes.

Q. Do you have plans after high school?

A. After high school, I plan to go to Estrella Community College for two years than transfer over to ASU and earn a degree in Criminology. I plan to apply for a job with MCSO as a correction officer or work as a security guard while I wait to be eligible for the police academy. I also plan to stay involved in my community by either volunteering at hospitals, Homeless shelters or food drives.

Ashley Herrera is a senior at West-MEC.

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