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Badge to the Bone Live at the Mount

Michael Hershey
Graduate Assistant, College of Liberal Arts

Jack Trammell, Ph.D., professor of sociology and chair of the Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice and Human Services at Mount St. Mary’s, invited the hosts of the Badge to the Bone podcast to speak with sociology majors and record a live episode.

Students listen in to Badge to BoneThe Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Human Services at Mount St. Mary’s has relationships with many different criminal justice and emergency service organizations, from students working alongside officers in Ocean City, Maryland, to revered Lecturer Joe Vince and his 30 years’ experience in law enforcement, to the Junior Mountaineers Program with the Frederick County Police Department.

Badge to the Bone is a podcast hosted by officers Allen Slonaker and Dennis Proffitt, that looks at law enforcement from the inside out. The officers have been friends for years and both have decades of service working as first responders. Both have bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice, while Proffitt also earned a master’s in human services counseling, crisis response and trauma.

Working for so many years, they have at various points each worked as a firefighter, a detective, a human resources and internal affairs representative, and even in violent crime units. Seeing the depth and dimensions of law enforcement, they were disappointed in departments that did not take mental health seriously.

Badge to Bone podcastHaving firsthand knowledge of the burdens that are put on first responders every day, they decided to start the conversation on their podcast. They have spoken with department psychologists, bestselling authors and fellow podcasters with similar missions to share that people inside the uniform are just that, people, and that working as first responders affects them like anyone else. Making quick decisions that can change lives is a challenge that law enforcement officers wake up to every day.

Slonaker and Proffitt spent a morning speaking to several classes of Department Chair and Professor of Sociology Jack Trammell, Ph.D., to give them a preview of what life in law enforcement is like and to invite them to a live podcast recording in Trammell’s office later that day. It was the first time that they had recorded an episode in front of an audience. They took advantage of this by answering questions that students and professors had about the profession and speaking candidly about their experiences.

Students were particularly interested in asking about mental health techniques they can practice, but also practices that can ease the minds of their friends and family, too. There is a gravity to the job that is hard to throw off, either at the end of the day or at retirement. Learning strategies on how to healthily cope with mental burdens and how friends can help officers stay safe was a subject that drew many questions from the audience. The department prides itself in exposing its students to as many sides of the profession as possible to help guide its students in how best to serve their communities and take care of themselves.

Michael Hershey
Graduate Assistant, College of Liberal Arts