The WSU Police Department hopes to attract additional student applicants this spring for their one-of-a-kind police internship experience.
“We are trying to get at least 50 people to apply this year and are probably going to hire about 15 to 20 for the fall,” said Andrew Valentino, senior criminal justice major and sergeant in the WSU police internship program. “We usually get about 15 to 20 applicants per year.”
Kelly Stewart, WSU police officer and internship coordinator, said he is not aware of another college that runs a program like the one at WSU.
Stewart said the Seattle Police Department does recruiting nationwide and that they have never seen a program like WSU's.
All applicants are required to go through a criminal history and background investigation and participate in a selection process that may include an oral interview, physical agility test, reference check and a meeting with members of the WSU Police Department and intern program, according to the WSU Police website.
Valentino said interns accepted into the program are required to attend a week-long training that runs the week before school starts in the fall. The training teaches students about the basics of law enforcement, including preparation in a variety of fields such as defensive tactics, criminal law, crime scene investigation, pepper spray procedure, radio procedure, first aid/CPR and patrol procedure.
“It is basically a cut-down version of the real academy,” he said.
Students from all majors are encouraged to apply. However, in order to be considered, students must hold at least a 2.5 grade point average, be a registered full-time WSU student and be in good standing with the university.
Due to the amount of intense training, the hiring process is only held during spring, according to the WSU Police website. The internship is also unpaid, but students may receive academic credit.
Interns are required to dedicate 20 hours per month, Valentino said. Eight of those hours must be on police ridealongs and three hours on foot, booking or bicycle patrol.
Interns looking to receive academic credit are required to serve at least 30 hours per month, according to the WSU Police website.
Valentino said there is no limit on the amount of semesters a student can participate.
Police interns receive supplemental training throughout the year in areas such as firearms, driving training, domestic violence and others. They can assist in all areas of duty including searching people and making arrests under the direction of commissioned officers. Police interns carry everything except a gun and Taser, he said.
“We are like a second set of eyes, second set of ears and second set of hands to the officers,” Valentino said. “We are trained observers, so if something happens, the officer can come back to us to see what we saw
Stewart said they have an intern command staff and leadership core, which provides students opportunities for advancement. Interns can apply for different positions based on experience in the program.
According to the WSU Police website, more than 90 percent of WSU Police interns go on to successful careers in law enforcement.
Stewart said the main thing he hopes students get out of the experience is a job and career in law enforcement.
Daniel Tiengo, a junior criminal justice major, said he started the internship this fall and that overall it has been a great experience.
Tiengo said the experience makes him feel more confident as a future law enforcement officer.
“It is also nice having an officer resource at your fingertips,” he said. “I get to pick their brains.”
The deadline to apply for the WSU Police internship program is 5 p.m. on March 9. For more information and to download the application, students can visit police.wsu.edu