In the criminal justice system, probation and parole officers provide a service to the community by giving continued oversight to people who have been convicted of a crime.
When Emily Kriner came to Trevecca in the fall of 2016 as a transfer student, Kriner knew she wanted a career in the criminal justice system.
An internship with the federal probation office in downtown Nashville led Kriner to a career with the Tennessee Department of Corrections (TDOC) soon after graduation. Settling into her first year as a state probation and parole officer for TDOC, Kriner ('18) provides continued oversight to registered sex offenders in Davidson County.
She is the youngest officer on the program supervision unit to hold that position.
The majority of offenders Kriner works with are under supervision with TDOC for the rest of their lives. With about 95 people under her supervision, Kriner says the job can be tough at times.
“While it is a difficult job, I think that providing effective supervision makes our community safer and that is my goal at the end of the day,” Kriner said.
As a probation and parole officer, Kriner’s role encompasses a variety of expertise.
On any given day, Kriner’s role extends beyond the standard responsibilities of a probation officer.
“Some days I’m a social worker and case manager for people with mental health [issues] and other days I’m on the policing side by making sure parolees are doing what is expected of them by TDOC,” Kriner said.
Much of Kriner’s job is dealing with people that have committed serious crimes—a job Kriner says requires grace, something she attributes to Trevecca’s criminal justice program.
“At Trevecca, we were able to have discussions about the tough subjects in the justice system, which is a flawed system,” Kriner said. “There are people that have committed horrible crimes in the world, but Trevecca showed me how to show grace to everyone that I meet and see the human side to them.”
Kriner says the persistence and reassurance of Trevecca professors helped keep her motivated as she pursued her degree.
“When I transferred, I was unsure of what I wanted to do, but my professors would reassure me about the path moving forward and that’s why Trevecca is so important to me,” Kriner said.
The criminal justice program at Trevecca is run by Dr. Laurie Woods, who worked as a narcotics officer in California for 25 years before becoming a professor.
Woods says attitude is everything when it comes to working in law enforcement, something she says Kriner isn’t lacking.
“Emily had an upbeat attitude and wanted to learn,” Woods said. “She used everything taught in class as an opportunity to move forward. She’s honest, dependable and has a great attitude and that is everything.”