Hillsborough County high schoolers learn from local law enforcement during career day

TAMPA, Fla. - Hillsborough County high schoolers interested in criminal justice careers spent Wednesday learning from local law enforcement and other agencies.

Organizers told FOX 13 the event at the HCC Ybor City campus was the first of its kind, bringing together over a dozen different agencies and 150 students, who are already studying in criminal justice programs at six different high schools.

"It's a shared interest that they have, so putting them together, it gives them the chance to meet new people, and gives them the opportunity to think, wow, there's somebody else who has that same interest," FBI Tampa’s Betsy Moriarty said.

READ: Hillsborough County commissioners worry voters may balk at multiple tax proposals

Alejandrina Gutierrez, a senior at Jefferson High School, told FOX 13 that she’s always wanted to pursue a career with the FBI.

"I like the agents. It's kind of fun. I want to go outside. I like to go explore outside and just help people out. You know, catch the bad guys," Gutierrez said.

Students learned about SWAT vehicles and were encouraged to try on FBI equipment, including vests and helmets.

"It's fun for us because they get to realize how heavy it is," FBI Tampa Special Agent Dan Nowak said. "But you can also see how much fun they have trying it on."

READ: Best places to live in America: 3 Tampa neighborhoods rank in top 10

Agencies that participated in Wednesday’s career day included FBI Tampa, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Tampa Police, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the U.S. Secret Service.

Students also got an inside look at the forensic crime lab at HCC and learned what it takes to get hired for some of these careers.

"The background checks are crazy," Jefferson High School senior Keven Rivera said. "They talk to your neighbors, teachers. Just to know how you think, how you react to certain situations."

Participating high schools included Alonso, Jefferson, Leto, Leonard, Durant, and Newsome.

FBI Tampa told FOX 13 they’re working to make this career day a yearly event.

SIGN UP: Click here to sign up for the FOX 13 daily newsletter

WATCH FOX 13 NEWS