Internship with Spring Township Police Department
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Zachary Zwinak

Major: Criminology

Minor: Sociology


Hometown: Mt Airy, Maryland

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found this internship through my football advisor because he knew one of the officers from prior encounters with former players. A teammate also said that it was a good opportunity because they are able to work with our schedules.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience was an exciting and diverse one. Each time I would go out and ride around in the car and assist the officers on anything they needed. Often times on routine patrol we would run license plates numbers through the network system they use. In addition to this routine patrol, the officers were responsible for keeping an eye out for any activity that might raise suspicion. When we pulled over a car, I would run the plate and let the officer know if there were any problems with the person driving or the records on file. Then after the officer had made contact with the individual(s) in the car, I would approach the passenger side of the car and search for anything that might send some signals of wrong doing, such as alcohol or drug paraphernalia. As we went back to the car, I would then run the driver’s license if we found it necessary.

"I got to experience community relations, investigations, patrols, filing paperwork, and learning how important it is to uphold the law."

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience was good for an academic purpose because in many ways the officer and I would discuss topics or ideas that often came up in my classes. I ended up learning a lot and found it interesting to compare my coursework with this firsthand experience. I got a taste of what the real world is like and what it truly felt like to be a law enforcement officer. I got to experience community relations, investigations, patrols, filing paperwork, and learning how important it is to uphold the law.

What are your career goals or plans? How did this experience impact them?

I still don't know what my career goals are at this point. I discussed many different options with the officers. This did help me confirm that I would enjoy a career in law enforcement. This experience impacted me significantly because I got to see a side of law enforcement that most people don't see and I have gained further knowledge about what the job actually entails. I am very thankful to the officers I met in this internship. Because of their knowledge and wisdom, I was able to have a very good experience and participate in many different activities.

Would you recommend this experience to other liberal arts students? If yes, why?

Yes, I would recommend the internship if students are interested in learning about law enforcement.  If a student is interested in doing police work, then I would encourage him or her to find a department and inquire about potential internships. It is a great experience to see things from the other side and to understand the perspective of law enforcement officials.

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