By Julia Greenland
Joining the police force means more to Michael Gray than simply fighting crime. Gray, a Criminal Justice major at Lock Haven University, spent his summer interning for the Ocean City, Maryland Police Department. Gray learned that the police force does not only fight crime but also, “Protects the citizens of Ocean City” and “helps the public in need,” he said.
Gray worked the night shift as a Seasonal Police Officer, and his work day began at 7:00 p.m. Gray’s responsibilities included patrolling Ocean City’s boardwalk and watching for violations. Bringing alcohol onto the beach was a popular violation. Later in the night Gray would patrol the city’s southern sector because people would leave bars and go directly into the city. Gray then ended his shift by writing reports of all that happened that evening.
With 550,000 people living in Ocean City, Gray stated, “I was constantly on call.” He was dispatched many times throughout the night and had to act professionally and quickly to solve problems so that he could move effectively to the next call. Gray remembers never having much time for a break; time passed quickly because he was so busy. He usually worked a 10-13 hour day. However, depending on the amount of paperwork to complete that night, staying later never surprised him.
Gray’s internship required him to move to Ocean City. He lived in Ocean Pines, which is right next to the beach and recalls that the “seagulls drove me nuts.” Gray remembers beginning the summer in Ocean City without knowing anyone and having no previous experience as a police officer. He says moving to the city and being a part of the police force was genuinely eye opening.
Gray’s father is a police officer and “always carried a fake plastic badge in his pocket,” said Gray. Gray never understood his father’s reasoning for carrying the plastic badge; however, he followed his father’s example and carried one as well. His most memorable moment came when one day he found a five- or six-year old boy who had been separated from his parents. Gray removed the plastic badge from his pocket, told the boy the badge gave him the power to help people, pinned badge on the boy and said, “Now this gives you power to find your parents.” The boy stopped crying and after finding his parents, he hugged Gray’s leg and told him that one day he would like to become a police officer too.
Gray would like to become Pennsylvania State Trooper, and he says his internship experience taught him “fundamental aspects I will be able to use” in the future. He says that the ordinances in Maryland are different, but laws are relatively same. He now has learned the court system and has academy training. Experiencing a mock academy, Gray believes, will give him an edge over other officers in training who have not.
Several classes at Lock Haven University notably prepared Gray for his internship. Gray encountered much drug abuse in Ocean City, and he believes his Drug Abuse class helped prepare him for that experience. Though it is not a Criminal Justice class, Gray said Composition helped him immensely. A police officer’s job is 75% report writing. “Your computer screen is your best friend,” he said. Gray said he was “Always writing what happened,” and Composition aided in developing his writing skills.
Gray recommends all Criminal Justice students gain experience through internships. “It’s a foot in the door to any institute,” he stated. Gray found his internship through a professor. However, if you are interested in finding an internship, a great place to start is at Career Services, Akeley 114. For
By Julia Greenland
After experiencing real on the job training with two different police forces, Lock Haven University student Christopher Keen says he “can’t wait to be cop.” Keen spent his last two summers gaining on-the-job experience at two police departments. He learned that a police officer’s job is much more than what is portrayed on television and was pleased to gain such valuable knowledge from his experiences.
Keen, a junior and Criminal Justice Major, worked as an intern for the Ferguson Township Police Department in State College and as a seasonal police officer for the Bethany Beach Police Department in Delaware. For both internships Keen patrolled the cities. In State College he dealt mostly with college students, handled DUIs, watched field sobriety tests, and patrolled traffic in a police car with another officer. Keen remembered never being stationary during his internship with the Ferguson Township Police Department. He patrolled the city with a different officer every week and was constantly responding to different calls or conducting speed details.
At the Bethany Beach Police Department, Keen’s duties were similar to those he performed in State College. Instead of dealing with college students, Keen worked mostly with tourists. He worked with about ten other employees, responded to calls, and wrote citations. Keen patrolled the boardwalk often to keep the public aware that the city’s police force was present and always willing to help.
Keen will always remember his first day at the Ferguson Township Police Department. “I responded to a fatal accident, and I watched a lady pass, two hours into my shift,” he stated.
Another, more positive, memorable moment occurred while routinely patrolling the boardwalk at Bethany Beach. A four-year-old boy in tears came running up to Keen. The boy told Keen he had been separated from his sister and needed help. Keen bought the boy ice cream to calm him down, and after reuniting the boy with his family the boy gave Keen a high five. Keen later received a thank you card from the boy and his family.
When asked if his experiences were what he expected, Keen said they were “everything and more.” Keen was pleased that his fellow officers treated him as a person and not just as ‘the intern.’ He said he learned “he can cope well under pressure,” and that he is better at working with people than he expected.
The classes at Lock Haven University Keen found particularly helpful during his internships were Introduction to Law Enforcement and Introduction to Criminal Justice. He, however, emphasized the importance of hands-on experience in addition to one’s classes. Keen’s internships taught him that a “job is more than what they teach you in a classroom. You can’t go in blind” he said. For example, a sergeant working for the Ferguson Township Police Department involved Keen in every possible DUI occurrence. With that sergeant’s help, Keen realized he wants to be involved in the DUI task force in the future.
Keen recommends students be proactive in regards to testing out their potential careers because there is an internship available for everyone. “Just get out there and do them,” he stated.
Keen obtained his internship with Ferguson Township Police Department because he knows the department’s supervisor and chief of police. Keen said he was proactive and asked the department if he could intern there. Keen found his internship with the Bethany Beach Police Department by searching for internships on police.com. Acceptance into their program was a competitive process because out of two hundred applicants, the Bethany Beach Police Department takes only twelve.
By Danielle Burkhart
Even today, in 2010, there are still some careers that are being pursued predominantly by men. However, women are stepping up to fill the roles in many “male dominated” fields. A recent graduate of Lock Haven University was one of only five women to participate in an internship with the Ocean City Police Department in Maryland.
Kaleigh Kolb graduated from the Criminal Justice Department in fall 2009 with minors in business and sociology. Kolb made the move to Ocean City for the months of May through August.
Kolb spent her summer as a Seasonal Police Officer once she completed the Ocean City Police Department’s Policy Academy.
The Ocean City Police Department came to Lock Haven University in order to recruit students to attend one of their fall 2008 testing dates. Over Christmas break, Kolb made the three-and-a-half-hour drive to Ocean City to take the tests. The testing process consisted of three parts: written, physical, and oral interview.
After completion of the tests, Kolb went through a seasonal police academy, which included other seasonal employees. They all had the opportunity to work with Ocean City’s full-time police officers.
Kolb’s typical workweek was 4 days of working 10-hour shifts and then 3 days off. She worked on Day shift at the south-end of Ocean City. “I have to say that I enjoyed working with everyone on my shift,” said Kolb.
While protecting and serving the town of Ocean City, Kolb learned that, no two days are ever the same while working in law enforcement.
“One thing I enjoyed about it was that every day was different; you never know how your day will end up or what you might get into,” said Kolb.
Over the summer, Kolb learned a lot about herself. She learned to push herself, even when things are tough. “The academy was not easy and definitely kept you on your toes,” said Kolb. She also learned the importance of reaching out and giving a hand.
Kolb’s internship gave her more awareness of what is involved in the criminal justice field. “I went in with an open mind even from day one of testing. I really did not have any idea of what I was getting involved with. I would not change anything; it was a great summer and definitely an experience that I will never forget. I came out with an entire different insight on police officers,” said Kolb.
Kolb’s internship helped her to get a feel for different jobs within the criminal justice system. It not only gave her the experience in her field, but also gave her a better sense of direction of where she would like to go in the future.
“I realized that being a police officer you see it all, from being first on the scene, intake, processing and even courtroom,” said Kolb.
Having a mix of classroom education and hands-on learning is a solid base to build your experience for your future. “I feel that classes at Lock Haven University helped to prepare me for this internship, but like most places you are not going to get the true experience of your degree until you are out there actually working “hands-on” in the field.
Being one of just a few women in her internship, Kolb hopes for a turnaround in women participation in her field. “The unique thing about the whole experience was, even from day one in the academy, there were only 5 girls to about 45 guys. It is definitely a male dominated field. I hope in the future that changes and more females get involved in the criminal justice field,” said Kolb.
Kolb found her internship by talking with professors in the Criminal Justice department at Lock Haven University.
By Danielle Burkhart
Not every intern feels comfortable on their first day of work, especially those who work in the criminal justice system. However, Kevin Kochka, a Lock Haven University Senior, felt right at home on his first day with the West Chester Police Department.
On the first day of his internship the officers showed their interest in Kochka; asking him questions about himself and about his baseball career at Lock Haven University.
“I felt accepted as a person and as an adult. I only spoke when I felt it was appropriate,” Kochka said and explained how important respect is in this line of work. Respect is earned only when it is given.
Kochka is a criminal justice major, looking to reach his goal of one day becoming a detective. Becoming a police officer is just one stepping stone along the way, but his internship prepared him for his next step.
Kochka contributes much of his success in his internship to Lock Haven University. Having had classes such as Introduction to Law Enforcement, Criminal Investigation, and Criminal Law, Kochka was prepared for the responsibilities that he was given as an intern.
A regular day for Kochka was very long, 12 hour shifts, 84 hours every two weeks. The majority of his time was spent in a police car where he observed as if he were an unarmed officer in training. Only certain dangerous situations prevented him from getting out of the police car.
The rest of Kochka’s time was spent observing the officers complete paperwork in response to their daily calls.
“A lot of people don’t realize the amount of paperwork that is done on a daily basis. Every call, every stop requires paperwork,” he said.
While Kochka and the officers were working on the paperwork or taking their lunch break, they still must respond to all incoming calls.
As an intern, he reported to four different officers and one Sergeant. Each shift, Kochka would rotate officers, spending the shift one on one with just one of the officers.
“It was nice to work with five different officers because I received five different perspectives and opinions on similar situations. It helped me create my own personal views and beliefs on how to be an officer.”
His experience has really exceeded his expectations. Kochka said he initially did not know what to expect but looking back now, he has learned much more than he could have imagined.
“You cannot second guess yourself when you’re in the field. That’s how people get hurt. Going with your first instinct is extremely important,” Kochka said.
He also learned the importance of knowing his surroundings, and just as important – the need for sleep. Kochka’s internship really solidified his goals and gave him a place to start his career.
“My next step is to take the police consortium in September which would allow me to work in up to 15 departments in Montgomery County. After the test, I look forward to graduation in May.”
Kochka knows the actions to take in order to achieve his goal of becoming a detective thanks to his internship with the West Chester Police Department.
Kochka found his internship by doing research and making his own contacts with the Police Station in West Chester.