Dr. Lesli Deichman’s Beyond CSI: An Introduction to Forensic Psychology class at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) is taught every spring at the Grove site. Deichman strives to provide her students with “real world” experiences, and this year she has a schedule full of guest speakers. “Bringing guest speakers into the classroom broadens the students’ learning experience immensely,” said Dr. Fahnestock, vice president for academic affairs. “Dr. Deichman does a wonderful job lining up speakers to bring outside application to our students.”
Deichman’s classes are open to all students who have taken General Psychology, Introduction to Sociology or Introduction to Criminal Justice. Upcoming events in her class include a visit from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a presentation by a private security company and a mini police academy training in Grove. “It isn’t unusual for ordinary citizens to freeze up when the president shakes their hand. They’re not bad people, just completely star-struck,” said Special Agent Scott Trew. “The president gives us a look that says, ‘Can you help me out here?’ and we gently get the person to give the president his hand back.”
Trew is from the Tulsa Regional Secret Service and recently paid a visit to NEO’s Forensic Psychology class to speak about working as an agent for the elite law enforcement agency. Founded in the mid-1800s, the Secret Service was originally tasked by President Lincoln to combat counterfeit money. “In the 1800s more than 50 percent of the money in circulation was counterfeit,” Trew said. “President Lincoln wanted a government agency that would handle this problem. Counterfeiting was a major problem and threatened to completely collapse the economy of the United States. Ironically, the day the Secret Service was made an agency was on April 14, 1865. That evening President Lincoln was fatally shot, and the Secret Service suddenly had a new job—that of protecting the president of the United States.”
Along with presidential protection, the Secret Service still maintains its original purpose, combatting counterfeit money. Agent Trew showed the class counterfeit and real money and asked the students to identify which was which. “It’s not always easy to identify counterfeit bills. The new technology is making it harder and harder to identify counterfeit money. The best way to do it is by feel,” Trew said.
When protecting the President, especially on a rope line, the agents are trained to look in the eyes of the people behind the line. “We don’t look at their hands. People do a lot of things with their hands that are not a security risk. But we can usually tell if someone is going to do something by looking at their eyes.”
Additionally, Secret Service agents are trained to run toward the sound of a shot being fired. Agent Trew had the students watch a video clip of the assassination attempt of President Regan. The general escorting Reagan dropped to the ground as shots were fired as he, a member of the Armed Forces, was trained to do. The Secret Service agents, however, turned and ran toward the shot. Agent Trew had the students time how long it took the agents to wrestle John Hinckley, the assailant, to the ground. 1.5 seconds.