In the criminal justice system, officers and officials receive patches to demonstrate their pride, dedication, and career membership. These memorabilia from service law enforcement agencies have created “Patch Walls” to show the honor and commitment of other law enforcement agencies.

Criminal Justice teacher Gilberto Salinas has started his own Patch Wall project in his class to network his students with police department patches throughout the U.S.

“I am just doing this project as a way for students to network with different agencies and just kind of see that law enforcement is way bigger than just the valley and this school,” Salinas said. “It is just kind of extending the hand and thanking them for their actions.”

Salinas has received patches from local and interstate departments such as Utah and Wyoming and the U.S. capital, thanks to his students who sent handwritten letters to those departments.

“I have heard about the patch walls before, and I think it is something important for students to see as they go to Jimmy Carter,” Salinas said. “It is a good way to demonstrate what we are doing, and I am taking pictures of them as they are getting patches and opening them.”

Salinas said this project is an excellent way to set up a legacy for future students in the Criminal Justice program. Freshman and La Joya I.S.D Campus Crime Stoppers member Luz Morado shares her reflections on the project.

“The patch wall is a new and inviting experience for me and my classmates,” Morado said. “It is exciting to go to class every day and see if anyone responded. Each story inspires me more to continue my work in the criminal justice field.”

Morado was initially hesitant to write a letter to a police department. However, Salinas talked her through it; she was thrilled to see the patch wall grow as students sent more letters.

U.I.L. Journalism member