December 11,2001 MY INTERNSHIPThrough out my one hundred and twenty-hour experience with the Gloversville Police Department, I learned many skills, values and the ways of this Police Department. Many of the calls and situations I went to often could relate to a certain theory that I learned in any of my law classes.
I would recommend any student majoring in Criminal Justice to try to take an internship with a local law enforcement agency. I am currently signed up for the civil service test for Gloversville Police Department, If I do qualify for the Police I believe that this internship will give me a huge head start.Some experiences that I encountered were DWI’S, Assaults, Traffic Tickets, Domestic Disputes, and going into the bars for ABC checks. The best Dwi I saw was when we pulled over a twenty-nine year old Marine. The officer that I was with wanted to let him go but couldn’t because of the condition of the offender. So we cuffed him and brought him to the station. While filling out the report for him we get a call about a kid who was struck at a bar by another man.
We asked if he wanted to press charges and he replied with a yes. We went to his house and found out it was a twenty-five year-old who was majoring to be a lawyer. The officer I was with that night knew this kid and thought very low of him because of past incidents. Come to find out the twenty-nine year old we had in custody was the one that had assaulted him earlier in the bar. We told him to come down in the morning and sign to press charges. When we got back to the station the Officer I was with asked him why he didn’t hit him harder. It was way to make him laugh and relax.
After that we all got talking and it actually did calm him down and I learned that even though someone committed a crime that it doesn’t necessarily mean that person is a bad person.When dealing with assaults I learned that no matter how much you agree with a person or want to believe a person that you cant take sides. To me this was one of the major lessons that I learned in this program. We were dispatched to a call at the Caboose for a fight.
When we arrived I saw two younger males and an older male fighting. Immediately I thought that the two younger males were drinking and started a fight with this older man who was walking down the street. To my mistake we found out that the two men were helping one of their wives into the car who was intoxicated. She fell, the man who was walking down the street was also intoxicated and thought that the two were harassing the female and started hitting them thinking he was helping the female. We ended up arresting the older man with assault and later he was discharged when his friend came in and paid his bail.When pulling over vehicles I also learned a lot. I learned how to translate every letter of the alphabet so we could tell the dispatcher the license plate, I learned how to fill out the ticket itself and most importantly how to use my discretion on whether to give the ticket or not to give the ticket to the offender.
Most Officers at Gloversville have an average of around a ticket a night. Some give one a week, and police in a very “watchman” style of policing while some give a ticket to every offender they see and police in a very legalistic manner. The number one call that Gloversville gets dispatched to is Domestic Violence. Through the hours that I have put in we were dispatched to twenty-two calls that dealt with Domestic Violence. Ranging from husbands and wives to brothers and sisters every call was basically the same thing.
They have a fight and they abuse the police department to get back at each other. To me this should not be dealt with by the police but by social workers. It takes up the officer’s time from him going to the call all the way to writing the report. Half the time resulting in no outcome. We dealt with these people on a day to day bases. After calling the Police so many times actually results in the Police not taking the call seriously and making that call below any others. It’s the Polices version of “The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf”.
Through this internship I have had many experiences whether its going eighty miles per hour through the city or just watching the police fill out their reports. I have learned how to deal with many cases and will help me in my future career.Many of the actions the Police took applied to the theories that I have learned in my Criminal Justice classes. How to prioritize, using your discretion, unity of command and the three styles of Policing were among many.
One of the most memorable calls I went on happened the fist night that I went out. We were dispatched to a call of an elder lady who was missing her mailbox. Upon arrival the old lady was unable to tell us information about her mailbox due to loss of her memory. The officer and I went to her neighbor’s house to question her about the ladies mailbox. When she answered the door the smell of marijuana was present. Also was the ladies three-year-old daughter.
The officer confronted the lady of the smell and told her just to tell the truth or else he would make a big deal of the situation. She then admitted to smoking the marijuana. To my surprise the officer said the have the problem fixed for her daughters sake.
To me the Officer used his discretion very well. The lady lived in a nice house, in a nice neighborhood and he said that she could afford a lawyer and get her out of it any ways. If the officer had taken actions the daughter would have been token away from her mother. This could impact the daughter’s view of Police through out her whole life. She might think of Police as bad guys who took her mother away from her.Another theory that was applied to the police department was prioritizing calls, or stacking calls. This theory states that the officer should put the most important calls first and then respond to the lesser calls that don’t need to be taken care of immediately.
One situation of this was where we got two calls within a five minute period. One call was to a burglar alarm going off and the other was a stray dog that Price Chopper had called in. The Officer and I immediately went to the alarm call first. After that we wrote a few reports then after all that we went and picked up the dog.
In my Police Organization and Management class I learned that there were three different styles of policing. Watchman style, which was a more, laid back style of policing. Telling Offenders to stop the problem and we wont take action this time.
Service style, which an Officer tries to help the Offender rather than punish them. And lastly the legalistic style of policing where the Officer is very strict and goes by the book. On one of the platoons that I was on there were all three styles of policing amongst the six Police Officers.
The Sergeant was more of a service style while another Officer gave a ticket for every reason that he possible could. Another Officer was between watchman and service, he would just tell the Offender that he was gong to let them off this time but next time they would not be so lucky.Lastly the Unity of Command was practiced highly in Gloversville Police Department. Through my internship the highest rank I saw was a detective. The Sergeant was there every day but I never saw a captain lieutenant or the Chief. The Sergeant was basically an Officer but only had more responsibilities.
The Line Officers gave him respect just as we looked at in class. They all wanted to look good for the Chief and also gave him the respect that was necessary. The Chief gave all the orders and it went all the way down the chain of command for the Line Officers to do.Through my internship with Gloversville Police Department I learned many things.
I learned the different attitudes of the Officers from the “Dirty Hairy” style of the rookies to the laid back style of the older Officers.I preferred to be with the younger Officers. I also learned how the dispatch system works from the Sheriffs Department. The most important thing that I believe I learned was my strengths and weaknesses and how to improve them.Among one of the many Officers that I rode along with was an Officer who has been at Gloversville for eighteen years and only has two more years to serve before he retires. His attitude is totally different from the rookies. He often wrote his reports very poorly while the rookies who didn’t have any authority wrote theirs in great lengths and detail.
I believe that they would do this because they wanted to gain the respect of the other Officers. The Officer who has been there for eighteen years did not have to do this because he already had the respect from other higher authorities. The attitudes towards the Officers calls also varied between the rookies and the older Officers.
The Rookies would take their time and take it seriously while the older Officers would joke around and laugh at the people.Through the internship I went to the Sheriffs Department three times. I also went once with my Police Management class. I learned a lot from this. I never knew how much information goes through them and how big of a responsibility they have. My Aunt works there as a dispatcher and told me that about fifty percent of all calls should be dealt with by animal control or social services not by the Police.
Through the internship program I have seen what she was talking about. More than half of all our calls dealt with disconduct or family offenses.The major thing that I learned through the internship was my own strengths and weaknesses. When dealing with people I learned that my strengths were talking to people and calming them down. One call was a fight between two men about a female they both liked. When we both arrived to the call the guys were out in the street pushing eachother. The Officer pulled them apart and started talking to the one.
The other guy came over to me and started talking to me about how he and this woman were together and how he was going to “kill” the other guy. I tried to explain to the guy that it would not be worth it. I told him that if she cheated on him now that she wasn’t worth getting back. The man agreed with me and calmed down. The Officer told me that I did the right thing in this and said that he would have done the same.One of my major weaknesses as you know is writing.
My handwriting itself needs major improving. The words themselves are fine. When writing traffic warning tickets one of the Officers made a joking comment “man your writing is worse than mine”. Next semester I am enrolling in a writing class that will hopefully improve my handwriting skills. Besides the writing I feel that most of my skills are good. If I become an Officer myself I believe that these would only improve.If I were to be grading myself on this internship program I would give myself a B.
I believe that I would deserve an A but this paper itself is not the certain length required. Through the program I learned a lot of valuable information about police departments themselves and how they work because I was actually there. No teacher could have taught this to any students, its something that they would have to experience themselves and something that I highly recommend to any student who is serious about taking criminal justice. The internship program was one of my best experiences with college. I learned a lot of information dealing with the Police and how they work.
I also learned that I want a career in this field. I want a job that is different everyday and I don’t know what’s going to happen day after day. Thank you for creating the opportunity for me to experience what it’s like in a Police Department. I greatly appreciate all the time and effort you put forward for me to do this internship.Submitted by 12-17-01