Doing the Material Justice

New C.J. Teacher Draws on Background as Investigator

Yakob Beshir, Staff Writer

In class, new Criminal Justice teacher David Papazian has a lot to talk about. He’s protected presidential candidates on the campaign trail, worked for Homeland Security in Kuwait and sailed back and forth across the world.

Indeed, before he started teaching students about criminal justice this year, Mr. Papazian was part of our country’s criminal justice system as an officer of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). HSI is an investigative team designed to protect and help major figures such as political candidates and to travel around the world helping other nations and their people. 

Working with Homeland Security Investigations was an incredible opportunity,” said Mr. Papazian. “I traveled overseas, moved around several times across the United States, and made some great investigations. I had a lot of freedom to work my investigations without oversight and made some lasting friendships.”

While exciting, the hard work of being an HSI officer comes with a cost. “It’s thrilling to see an investigation you have been working on come full circle and end successfully with a conviction,” said Mr. Papazian. “You have to take personal pride in what you do, knowing that the sacrifices you make—such as not seeing your family for a time, missing birthdays, missing holidays—pay off because somewhere you made a difference.”

Drawing on his experience, Mr. Papaizian helps his students adopt the mindset of a criminal investigator. “For one group project about serial killers, my group was having some difficulty deciding what kind of motive our killer had,” said Isacc Roberts (9). “After Mr. Papazian explained the different types of motives in a new way, this decision became much easier. I find that being able to explain something in multiple different ways is very important, repeating the same thing over and over again won’t help someone who doesn’t understand”

Many of Mr. Papazian’s students appreciate how Mr. Papazian’s background allows him to teach about real-world issues with authority. “I enjoy learning about how our criminal justice system works and how our first responders are trained,” said Zach Sedmak (12). “It gives me context for when events happen and it’s all over the media and I’m able to understand what was going through the first responders’ mind.”