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This guest post is written by Jennie Faker, a criminal justice major and psychology, sociology, and women’s studies minor at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

Since the Criminal Justice program started at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College about six years ago, there has never been an intern at the Terre Haute Police Department – until now. As the City Department’s first SMWC intern I was excited to pave the way for future interns.

The Terre Haute Police Department has 136 sworn officers ranging from the uniform division to investigations. The main goal of the department is to protect and serve the people of Terre Haute as well as providing safety. I did not sit at a desk filing paperwork, stapling, mailing, or typing. I was in the middle of all the action! I rode with uniformed officers and conducted traffic stops, responded to domestic disputes, and served warrants. With the investigations division I sat in on court hearings, got warrants signed, and got to see the fruit of detective’s long tedious work recovering stolen property and making arrests. Just by observing all of these things at work, I learned so much more than I’ve ever read in a textbook. The best thing about my internship experience was not only the incalculable knowledge I gained, but also the friendships that I formed.

My experience at the THPD has kind of both confirmed and altered my future career goals. I loved being at the department all semester so I know that law enforcement is for me. Through speaking with many different officers and detectives I know I need more education and options. Upon graduation with my Criminal Justice degree from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College I plan on attending graduate school at Ball State University in their Center for Information and Communication Sciences. I hope that this will allow me to go forward in state or federal law enforcement.

For future interns at this site or any other law enforcement placement I would tell them that an internship would be worth more than any criminal justice class they took in school. Learning out in the field is invaluable and an experience that they will never forget. I have made so many relationships and networking connections that I never would have had the opportunity to make before. As far as advice goes, ask questions, dress professionally, and be open to anything that comes your way.

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