Public Safety Lab

The scene… The class gathered around a chalk outline, blood splattered across the ground, hair fibers and fingerprints providing evidence for analysis. Community partners walking students through evidence collection. Students engaging in the investigative process and evidence collection with community partners, following historical clues in the form of primary and secondary sources. This is only a small glimpse into the life of a Public Safety student in our lab.

In addition to crime scene analysis, students will walk through history in order to examine the foundation of our rights, the creation of laws, and the agencies tasked with public safety. Students will turn a critical eye on current events using history to provide context and connections. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of effective communication and interpersonal skills, strong academic skills, problem-solving, safety, and the use of technology.

Public safety begins with understanding civic duty and working to better the community as a whole. Local law enforcement and correctional officers, firefighters, and other community partners will be a part of the classroom in order to bring real-world experience and insight into the topics and themes being discussed. Through projects, students will learn about civic duties, rights, criminal procedure, and how laws are made. 

The Public Safety Lab will prepare students for success in the high school public safety pathway. Careers in this pathway include those in corrections, probation, law enforcement, military service, and fire science.

Our Teaching Team

Cherokee Bingham grew up in the Central Valley and knew from a young age that she wanted to be a teacher. She graduated from California State University, Fresno in 2009 with a B.A. in English and a Preliminary Teaching Credential. Cherokee is thankful that Madera Unified took a chance on her as a first-year teacher back in 2010 and continued to help her grow as an educator. Cherokee is now entering her 10th-year of teaching at Mad TEC. She made the difficult decision to leave Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School as an ELA and AVID Excel teacher but is excited and passionate about the work being done at Mad TEC.  Outside of school, Cherokee can be seen reading (she loves a good fiction novel, though “good” is subjective), traveling (she loves to stop and explore along the way), attending concerts, or spending time with her puppy.

GARRET BOOTHE, History Teacher

My name is Garret Boothe. I was born and raised in Merced, California where I attended Merced High and Merced College. I played baseball for Merced College and worked hard enough to get a scholarship to Bethany College where I finished with my B.A. in History/Political Science. In college, I became interested in teaching history because of my interest in giving back to the community as well as teaching history at a high level. History has always been my favorite subject. I enjoy healthy debate and understanding why things are the way they are.  My goal is to teach students how to read history like a historian. Understanding context, cause, and effect taking account of change, and historical turning points, and connecting the past to the present are skills necessary to learn history. I hold some values close to my heart. Hard work pays off, self-discipline, and surrounding yourself with good people are three things I have learned that lead to success. If students can grow in these areas they will be able to accomplish what they put their minds to.

The best piece of advice I have received is, “If you hang around dirt you are going to get some on ya”. – Jesse Boothe. This quote is from my father, who is my inspiration. He is a hard worker and taught me to be a man from a young age. I respect my father and hope to be half the man he is.

When I am not at work I enjoy golfing, being out in nature, and being with my family. I am passionate about being a good father and being the best teacher I can be.

ANDRES GARZON, Public Service Teacher

Andres Garzon grew up in the Fresno/Clovis area. After graduating from high school, he enlisted into the United States Marine Corps as an Infantryman. He deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where his platoon was tasked with multiple missions to include route clearance and patrolling the Syrian border in counterinsurgency operations. After completing his enlistment, Andres continued his career in public safety by working as a Security Supervisor at Community Regional Medical Center. There he gained experience in patrol techniques, investigations, and community relations. That training and experience led him to complete the Fresno City College Police Academy and being hired on with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. As a Deputy, Andres was assigned to the Fresno County  Courthouse where his duties included processing inmates, transporting inmates, ensuring site security, criminal investigations, and responding to disturbances. After five years of working as a Deputy, Andres discovered his true passion for teaching, as his favorite assignments included training new deputies, spearheading various training sessions, and community outreach events. Andres enjoys spending time with his four children, his wife, and his MANY pets, which include chickens, goats, and horses. In his free time, he volunteers with his local 4H club as a rifle shooting coach. He is a Proud San Jose Sharks fan, loves eating tacos, and is extremely excited to be a part of the MTEC team.
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