The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

July 29, 2013

Edgecombe Community College holds criminal justice open house


TARBORO — Edgecombe Community College will hold a criminal justice open house on Tuesday in an effort to boost enrollment in its newly revamped program.

For the past two years, program chair Rick Basile has been tweaking classes and finetuning a curriculum that typically draws about 300 students a year.

“I inherited a strong program,” says Basile, who has been in law enforcement for more than 35 years. “The open house is an attempt to expand the program.”

The hour-long open house is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Fleming Building on the school's Tarboro campus.

Basile is expected to open with remarks about the criminal justice course work, including new classes like Introduction to Homeland Security and Introduction to Intercultural Communications.

Tarboro Police Chief Damon Williams also will speak at the event. In addition, Dr. Harry Starnes, dean of the college's Division of Arts and Sciences, and Marie Wilson, ECC career counselor/ recruiter, will be on hand.

“I'll lead off and talk about the program, the instructors, syllabi, and the graduation plan,” Basile says. “Chief Williams will speak, and we'll have some students there to answer any questions.”

Equipment such as fingerprint kits and cameras also will be on display.

Basile took over ECC's criminal justice program in 2011 after spending six years at Bryant and Stratton College in Syracuse, N.Y. He started its criminal justice curriculum from scratch and built it into the argest program on campus.

"There's a lot more offered here than up there," he says. "At ECC, students have lots of options." Both degree and certificate options are available in criminal justice, and a degree in the related field of cyber crime also is offered.

Open houses were common for Basile during his days in New York, and typically, about 10 percent of the attendees would register on the spot. But because this is his first one at ECC, he says he's not sure what to expect.

“I've reserved 50 chairs,” Basile says.

He believes Edgecombe Community College can provide a great foundation for anyone who wants a career in criminal justice. In North Carolina, a high school diploma or its equivalent is required to be a police officer. But college degrees — associate's, bachelor's, or master's — will

help with advancement or often just getting in the door.

“In a bad economy, more applicants with degrees are looking for those jobs,” Basile says. "I think we provide a good foundation.

“We're big enough to have choices, but we're small enough that you can't hide.”

To learn more about the Criminal Justice Open House, call 823-5166, ext. 162, or email