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UM Criminal Justice Students Provide Gifts to Children in Need

Oxford Police Department officers Rachel Ratcliffe (left) and Joshua Shipp (right), a recent graduate and current student respectively in the criminal justice master’s program at the University of Mississippi, used funds collected through the Alpha Phi Sigma criminal justice honor society to help the McGlown family (center) buy presents for Christmas.
While most Oxford residents were shopping for friends and family over the holiday season, students from the Alpha Phi Sigma criminal justice honor society at the University of Mississippi made sure local needy families had plenty of presents under their trees.
Alpha Phi Sigma adopted two families from the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree and sponsored a Shop with a Cop event for six additional families.
“Our Alpha Phi Sigma chapter partnered with the Salvation Army and Oxford Police Department on a crime prevention community service project to address the financial and emotional stress that fuels hopelessness and frustration within families living in poverty in Oxford,” said Linda Keena, the university’s interim chair of legal studies.
“Shop with a Cop provided a fun-filled day for a number of children in need while creating positive relationships with law enforcement. This promising December shopping experience assisted needy youth and helped foster a trusting relationship between the youth and cops.”
The participating children were identified by Oxford police officers, including Joshua Shipp and Rachel Ratcliffe.
Shipp, a graduate student and Alpha Phi Sigma member, and Ratcliffe, a recent graduate of UM’s criminal justice master’s program, met Oxford resident Cindy McGlown and her four children at the local Wal-Mart to help them shop for themselves and one other.
“They asked us to identify people in the community in need who would benefit from these services who we could help out and give back to the community,” Shipp said. “We were able to identify one family with four people through the Oxford Housing Authority.
“We were able to get them, and we came here to make this donation to them, help them shop and hopefully make their Christmas good.”
More than 280 Ole Miss students and criminal justice faculty contributed funds to the Angel Tree project by donating $5 to purchase a blank paper ornament. Each donor decorated an ornament, added a personal message and hung the ornament on a 6-foot Christmas tree.
With a portion of the funds, Alpha Phi Sigma members constructed police and fire-related stuffed animals at Build-A-Bear Workshop. Faculty members purchased shoes and coats, and community members donated law enforcement-related children’s books to accompany clothing and toys purchased by the honor society. Those items, totaling more than $1,500, were donated to the Salvation Army.
The Ole MissAlpha Phi Sigma chapter is an active campus organization that recognizes academic excellence of undergraduate and graduate students of criminal justice. Its goals are to honor and promote academic excellence, community service, educational leadership and unity.
It is the only criminal justice honor society certified as a member of the Association of College Honor Societies and affiliated with the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.
For more information about criminal justice programs at UM, visit https://legalstudies.olemiss.edu/.

By Sarah Sapp

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