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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
In May of 2019, under the direction of Chief David Scirrotto, the Lower Moreland (Pennsylvania) Police Department (LMPD) created an internship program to strengthen relationships with the local community while educating criminal justice students about the realities and benefits of police work. By taking students from different schools who are pursuing different career goals, LMPD’s internship program creates a diverse environment focused on experiential learning. Since May of 2019, 32 interns have completed an internship with the department and four are currently working there during the summer term.
Located in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Lower Moreland Township is home to approximately 13,000 residents and shares a border with the City of Philadelphia. The Lower Moreland Police Department consists of twenty-six full-time sworn police officers, five full-time civilian employees, and seven part-time civilian employees. In addition to a patrol division, the LMPD has a detective division, special response unit, traffic safety unit, mountain bicycle unit, K-9 unit, school resource officer, and community policing officers.
LMPD interns have a number of duties and responsibilities during their assigned semester. First and foremost, interns are meant to learn about municipal police work. Through a combination of ridealongs, in-service training, and an intern-specific curriculum, LMPD interns receive a broad overview of the challenges and rewards of modern police work. Hands-on training for interns covers topics including handcuffing, marksmanship, drug recognition, defensive/control tactics, active shooter response, first aid/CPR, standardized field sobriety testing, and de-escalation.
As well as this hands-on training, LMPD interns do administrative work that benefits the department in a variety of ways. In addition to routine tasks such as vehicle maintenance checks, filing court paperwork, and archiving records, interns work on several projects each semester. Intern projects have included organizing supplies, offering station tours, and presenting to community groups on various crime prevention topics—as well as some deeply personal and meaningful initiatives.
Emma Conradi (Lebanon Valley College ‘23) is a current intern at LMPD. During her time with the department, she has been working on a new department initiative called the LMPD BRIDGE program. This program, based on a partnership with Montgomery County Mobile Crisis, is designed to help connect individuals in the Lower Moreland community to appropriate mental health treatment and care, as well as other community resources. Emma has taken on an important role as a part of the BRIDGE team, creating a master list of individuals who come into contact with the LMPD and who may benefit from mental health services. By reviewing each case in detail, Emma has created a foundational resource for both LMPD officers and BRIDGE team members to build on for years to come.
Jenna Curran (Holy Family University ’23) was an intern with LMPD in the 2022 Spring Semester. During her time with LMPD, she helped create and teach curriculum for the Crime Scene Investigation Club program for middle and high school students. This four-night class gives students the opportunity to learn about various duties of policing such as interviews/interrogations, fingerprinting and DNA evidence collection. Students then use the skills that they have obtained solve a mock crime. For the 2022 Spring Semester, a kidnapping was staged with Jenna helping to meticulously create a realistic crime scene. During the last class, the students successfully solved the kidnapping and received their own personal CSI Club patch. “Overall, I enjoyed helping teach and formulate a lesson plan for CSI Club,” said Jenna, “and showing the students that policing is not entirely like how the movies portray it to be.”
If you are considering starting an internship program for your police department, make sure to spend time thinking about how to create a program that is mutually beneficial for interns and your department. Selection and onboarding of new interns should be treated the same as any other new hire, and a formal interview should be conducted before any agreements are signed. Program administration should ideally be conducted by a single point-of-contact. Finding potential interns may seem like a challenge, and in the beginning, it probably will be. Reaching out to local colleges and universities and advertising at job fairs and through social media are both good ways to recruit potential new interns. Once word begins to spread at a particular school, however, potential interns tend to become plentiful.
Each semester may be different for LMPD interns, but some things don’t change: The department remains committed to helping criminal justice students learn about policing in a welcoming, open environment, and gets a lot of much-needed support along the way.
Orenda Geller, former LMPD intern and current Northampton Police Department patrol officer, had this to say about her experience: “LMPD’s internship program gave me the opportunity to see what police officers encounter on a daily basis. I was exposed to a lot of different calls and tasks that officers do through going on ridealongs, doing community events, and much more. This program provided me with the opportunity to work part time as a police clerk at LMPD, start LMPD’s first ever Citizens Police Academy, and get my foot in the door as a full-time police officer.”
If you would like additional information about the Lower Moreland Police Department internship program, please reach out to Training Coordinator Rich Worthington at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lower Moreland Police Department
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