CHADRON – Chadron State College social work majors in their senior years are hosting a major conference, “High in the West, The Tragic Trail Left by Drugs,” Wednesday, Nov. 2, in the Student Center. The all-day event is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is encouraged but not required. Schools and individuals may register online.
Jade Capezzuto, spokesperson for the class, taught by Bruce Hoem, said the students have been planning for months to bring experts and resources together to increase the awareness of drugs in rural areas among parents, educators and youth.
“We want to highlight solutions and treatment options that are available,” Capezzuto said.
For eight years, CSC students in the Professional Program (SW 435) have organized and conducted a major conference about timely social topics such as Veterans Awareness, Cancer, Bullying, Differently-abled, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Child Welfare and Sexual Assault on College Campuses.
Retired Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms agent and author Jay Dobyns will speak at 9 a.m.Dobyns achieved notoriety for his daring undercover roles during covert operations targeting the world’s most violent criminals and organizations. Forover25 years,Dobyns successfully infiltrated and brought down scores of violent street and prison gang members, gun running groups, drug trafficking organizations, bomb makers and home invasion crews.
Dobyns, father of CSC student Jack Dobyns, is perhaps best known for his infiltration of the Hells Angels biker gang. He was the first-ever law enforcement officer to successfully defeat the gang’s multilayered security measures and become a full patched member of the Skull Valley charter in Arizona.
Professional social worker Shelly Thomas will speak at 10 a.m. She worked as a uniformed police officer in Lincoln for more than four years before becoming an investigator and supervisor with Child Protective Services for the State of Nebraska. She worked for Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff as a social worker/ discharge planner for 12 years.
Since 2013, she has been a full-time forensic interviewer for the CAPstone Child Advocacy Center. To date, Thomas has interviewed almost 1,000 children alleged to have some level of maltreatment in their homes.
This year, the Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson will be the keynote speaker at 11 a.m. The Nebraska native graduated from the Pepperdine University School of Law in 1985. Following law school, he spent two years in North Platte prosecuting both criminal and civil cases for the Lincoln County Attorney. From 1988 to 1990, he served as deputy to the Nebraska Attorney General’s office, representing the state in civil matters. Peterson was sworn in as Nebraska’s 32nd Attorney General in January 2015.
One of two drug use survivors among the conference’s speakers is Amy Case at 2:20 p.m. She was a participant in the Central Nebraska Drug Court Program and lived in a halfway house. She is a state-certified peer support specialist at the Mid-Plains Center for Behavioral Healthcare Services working with patients in detox and crisis.
A panel discussion from 3 to 4 p.m. will include Chadron Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Caroline Winchester. Winchester, who earned her doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, is an adjunct in Education Assessment Leadership at CSC. The Nebraska Association of School Administrators named Winchester the 2016 Nebraska Superintendent of the Year
Dawes County Sheriff Karl Dailey is also among the panel discussion members. He said he has seen many changes including the types and the availability of drugs. As the administrator of the Dawes County Jail, Dailey has seen an increase in the number of inmates on drugs and also inmates who are addicted to drugs.
Chuck Elley, a 28-year retired veteran of the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP), will be another participant in the conference’s panel discussion. His background includes working road operations for four years and 10 years as a patrol investigator involving drug and criminal cases. The last 14 years, Elley has worked in the Community Policing Division of the NSP working with community leaders, school administrators, businesses, organizations, and the general public to identify problems and resources for solutions. Elley conducts threat assessments in schools through the Nebraska Department of Education.
Panel member Chadron Police Chief Tim Lordino has served as a school resource officer, a criminal and drug investigator and a supervisor over patrol and investigations. His duties have included assignments to the Western Nebraska Intelligence & Narcotics Group Drug Task Force, the Scotts Bluff County Special Weapons And Tactics Team and he has served as a forensic child interviewer. He is a current member of the Nebraska State Crime Stoppers Board and an executive member of the Nebraska Police Chief’s Association.
7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Registration and breakfast
8:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. Opening remarks
9 a.m. – 9:50 a.m. Jay Dobyns
9:50 a.m. – 10 a.m. Break
10 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. Shelly Thomas
10:50 a.m. – 11 a.m. Break
11a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Lunch
11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. Doug Peterson
12:20 p.m. – 12:40 p.m. Break
12:40 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Law Enforcement
1:30 p.m. – 2:10 p.m. BIA representative
2:10 p.m. – 2:20 p.m. Break
2:20 p.m. – 3 p.m. Amy Case
3 p.m. – 4 p.m. Panel Discussion
4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Closing remarks
—Tena L. Cook, Marketing Coordinator