LINDSBORG, KAN., On June 14, 2019, the McPherson County Special Response Team spent nearly eight hours training in two residence halls on Bethany College campus. This training also provided an opportunity for the deputies to familiarize themselves with layout, entrances and exits of the residence halls. In connection with the training, McPherson County Sheriff Jerry Montagne, a 1995 Bethany alum, visited campus and met Dean of Student Development, Ryan Van Dusen and Campus Safety Director, Josh Snider, both responsible for campus emergency preparedness.

Other area law enforcement agencies have informally partnered with Bethany College’s criminal justice department allowing criminal justice majors firsthand experience. Through a working relationship with the Kansas Highway Patrol, Bethany provides criminal justice students as role players when the KHP is training recruits in accident investigation, DUI detection, domestic violence, robbery, and damage to state property investigations. Bethany students have also been role players in active shooter training by Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and the KHP SWAT team, and for riot training with the Ellsworth Correctional Facility SWAT team.  Crisis City also invited students out when the state fire marshal K-9 teams needed role playing during a collapsed building / rescue event. Several Bethany alums working in the criminal justice field in the area also visit campus to talk with current students.

Bethany student, Molly Achterberg, will complete her senior seminar project this summer by helping renovate the sheriff’s lobby at the McPherson Law Enforcement Center.  The renovation involves adding display racks so tee shirts from all 50 states, for the Law Enforcement Torch Run/ Special Olympics, can be seen.  Recent graduate Lexie Valentine coordinated with Saline County Community Corrections this past spring, to inspect and prepare a list of suggestions and supplies for renovations. After funding is established, students in the criminal justice department next fall, will make the renovations recommended by Lexie. The criminal justice department will also be painting several of the detention cells at the McPherson County Law Enforcement Center.

The criminal justice club will host a “CSI” camp on campus July 9, 10 and 11 for grades fourth through eighth. The camp will include crime scene processing and photography, fingerprinting, fluid splatter, evidence collection and processing; and more. Sheriff Montagne will participate.

Bethany College anticipates inviting Sheriff Montagne to provide an awareness and self-defense course in the near future.  Sheriff Montagne has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a 2nd black belt in Judo and has taught a women’s safety awareness and self-defense course across the state of Kansas for the past several years. Because he is an instructor for defensive tactics training, including pressure points, mace and taser, Sheriff Montagne’s safety course also implements prevention techniques.

Sheriff Montagne commented, “I am so proud of being a Bethany grad. I not only get to see and be on the campus again, but to glad my swat team can train to help Bethany students. My time at Bethany was full of great memories. Professor Dale Hoffman was such an inspiration to me. Bethany College definitely helped me to get where I am today, the highest law enforcement officer in the county. Thanks for allowing me to be a Swede!”

Bethany College, established by Swedish Lutheran immigrants in 1881, is a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The mission of Bethany College is to educate, develop, and challenge individuals to reach for truth and excellence as they lead lives of faith, learning, and service. Bethany connects its past, present, and future with distinctive initiatives like Swedes to Sweden, a free service-learning trip for the sophomore class to Sweden, and the Good Life Scholarship, presenting all local high school graduates with a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to the college. Bethany College is on the Web at www.bethanylb.edu and is located in Lindsborg, Kansas, the fine arts and crafts capital of the state.