On Thursday October 22, from noon to 1 p.m. in Nursing Building Room 113, the Seton Hall community is invited to join Professor John Paitakes, and the Criminal Justice program as it hosts an informative and in-depth examination of the use of force by police departments. The interactive seminar will feature Richard Celeste, Ed.D., director of the Somerset County Police Academy and a national expert and certified witness/consultant on law enforcement practices. Celeste has written the recruit training manual used by police departments throughout New Jersey and around the country.
As society and police departments contend with the ramifications of recent and controversial cases including Travon Martin, Michael Brown and Freddie Grey, the necessity and importance of understanding the legal regulations imposed on police has never been more important.
"There have been a number of controversial incidents by law enforcement during arrests. The media when reporting on these incidents, does not always have a complete set of facts and circumstances, and may not be aware of when force can be initiated," Paitakes said.
Celeste will examine and explore the procedural guidelines police must follow when making arrests, criteria for the initiation of force, and the various means by which officers are permitted to control and subdue an individual. The program provides an opportunity for participants to field questions.
As servant leaders, the criminal justice seminar holds value for anyone who wants to understand and actively contribute solutions to these recent tragedies, as well as individuals who want to become members of the criminal justice system, according to Paitakes.
"I thought it was important for not only criminal justice students but also the SHU community at large to be aware of the actual lawful means the police can exercise and under what circumstances," Paitakes explained.
The director of the Somerset County Police Academy, Celeste's law enforcement experience includes 11 years as an officer with the Bridgewater Township Police Department and 16 years with the Somerset County Prosecutors Office, where he retired as Deputy Chief. His book, "The Challenge Program, An Administrator's Guide for Conducting: A Comprehensive Police Recruit Training Program," is a training model at the Somerset County Police Academy and is used by many academies across the nation as well as other New Jersey academies. He has served as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall.