Internship at Miami Dade Police (Homicide) Department

Introduction

The Miami Dade Police Department (MDPD) offers a variety of internships that allow students to have first-hand experiences with police work. The agreements that students have to comply with include a minimum age of 18, undergraduate/graduate status at an accredited college/university, a recommendation from the faculty advisor, etc. (Miami-Dade Police Department). By agreeing to participate in the program, the student will have to follow the schedule of working 8 hours every day from Monday through Friday, which is the standard arrangement. After a background check, students eligible for the internship can enroll in the 16-week program. Moreover, each participant can earn credits ranging from 6 to 12. Thus, the opportunity is both academically and professionally beneficial due to the skills gained during the internship. It is designed for individuals interested in police jobs, which is why there is an emphasis on gaining real-life practice and knowledge from active police officers and other law enforcement professionals. The program itself is based on the supervision and support of a coordinator. Each week, the students have to write reports in regards to their daily duties, practices, and experiences. The coordinator monitors this process, evaluates the participants in the middle of the internship, and provides teachers with a final evaluation of the intern.

MDPD

The Miami Dade Police Department is responsible for maintaining safety in several unincorporated areas. These are the Miami-Dade County, Cutler Bay, Palmetto Bay, and Miami Lakes (Miami-Dade Police Department). In addition, multiple stations operate in different districts accordingly. The police department is one of the largest in the country, which is why it is able to operate in multiple fields of work. Some of the organizational units are responsible for dealing with forensic services, homicide investigation, marine patrol, economic crimes, organized crime, and other specialized domains that certain units investigate and address.

There are several internships that MDPD offers. Interns have the option to choose the special patrol bureau. This is the domain that covers marine patrol, aviation, etc. Students who are interested in starting a career in this domain may choose this department as an initial step towards future professional goals. On the other hand, students may opt for the communications bureau, which is also available within the Miami Dade Police Department internship program. Thus, individuals aiming to work as police dispatchers can have practice experiences by getting assigned to this particular entity. Each person who desires to operate within the field of criminal justice can opt for a particular department that correlates with their future plans and objectives since many options are available. Each choice is linked to real-life experience, communication with experts, and personal development. However, the internship that appeared to be most desirable from a personal and professional viewpoint was joining the homicide department.

Homicide Department

The homicide department is designed to deal with reported murders by investigating scenes. Moreover, the duties include assessing circumstances by talking to possible witnesses, collecting evidence, and collecting as much useful information as possible. The internship itself allowed for an in-depth examination of the field by interacting with professionals who have been in this domain for a long time and have expertise. The internship duties included partnering with investigators, officers, and detectives during their duties. Thus, the main objective was to observe how professionals exemplify their skills and assist them. The program consisted of Monday through Friday working (eight hours a day) for an understanding of the actual schedule that will be dictated by the future job in law enforcement. Moreover, the internship duties included the use of current technology and equipment, which was also a nuance compared to the theoretical knowledge gained prior to the program.

Communicating with specialists, being actively involved in police duties, and learning about the job of homicide detective were among the factors that the program was designed for. Thus, students were able to see and examine all the in-depth details that correlate with the job of an expert in the homicide department. The internship itself is based on the notion of receiving an experience that will be useful for those individuals who will continue in the field. Nonetheless, participating in the process may also contribute to a change in the chosen area of work. Students were able to see how different departments interact and, perhaps, assess a job position that fits their preferences and personalities more than their first choice.

Objectives, Challenges, and Insights

The experience of going through an internship at the Miami Dade Police Department was both challenging and valuable. Due to the fact that in school, all the received knowledge is based on theoretical information, watching and participating in the process of working in the field of criminal justice was a nuance. However, the traditional way of learning does not have the same impact on individuals who think this domain is for them. Only practice and participation can highlight all the benefits and negative aspects of a job. Thus, while the experience may be challenging, it gives people an overview of what they will possibly do in the future and whether they chose the right path.

The Reasoning for Completing an Internship

Based on personal experience, putting theoretical knowledge into practice is just as crucial as learning objective information. Internships allow students to externalize what they have studied by actively using their current skills gained in schools. It is, perhaps, extremely essential when the future job is related to criminal justice due to the multiple difficulties that such positions correlate with on both phycological and physical levels. Researchers also highlight the gap between experimental and theoretical knowledge in police work, which is why they suggest internships to minimize risk factors (Kratcoski & Kratcoski, 2021). The reason why an internship was picked for further development in the field was to have the opportunity to apply what was learned in school through experimental techniques. This was an excellent opportunity to see how a police department operates and whether what was read in books and taught by teachers correlate with first-hand activities and strategies. Moreover, the program gave insight into some details related to the human factor that books cannot possibly cover due to the broadness of the subject. Thus, the internship was chosen for the sake of receiving practical knowledge, learning more about how the departments cooperate and assessing details that current information cannot illustrate due to the extensive possibilities.

The homicide department, in particular, was chosen because of the future plans to work in this domain. Since the internship plan was to minimize the gap between current knowledge and practical experience, it was important to pick an area that appears to be the most attractive in terms of plans for the future career. By opting for this department, the possibility of learning about investigations of murders, casualties, suicides, severe assaults, and other crimes covered by this field became real. Thus, it was vital to consider the entity that would provide a beneficial experimental experience that will be helpful when being an active employee within the criminal justice system. Moreover, in case the internship would highlight some opposing sides of the job that were not considered before, the preferred field would change to something else.

Objectives and Their Achievement

As mentioned prior, several reasons contributed to the choice of applying for the internship, including the appliance of theoretical skills into practice and learning about the organizational aspects of police departments. Moreover, other aims include interacting with professionals and assessing some of the negative sides of the job. It is certain that the objectives established before applying for the program were met and fully achieved. The 4-week internship was enough to complete the list of goals and gain experiences that would not be achieved without experimental practice.

There are several factors that contributed to the fulfillment of the set goals. First, it was essential to minimize the gap between information and action. This was the primary reason for applying for the program, and the results were positive. Such outcomes were met due to the active participation in the organizational process alongside officers and investigators. There were opportunities to assist them and take an active part in daily tasks correlating with the positions of the professionals. Moreover, the involvement did not limit itself to observations and examinations. There were multiple chances to actually participate in the process while monitoring how the mentors approach their duties.

The objective of interacting with professionals was, likewise, fulfilled. All the individuals who took a leading role during the internship were open to discussing relevant topics, providing insight into their jobs, and giving honest feedback. Such honest and open communications allowed students to feel like a part of the team while learning about the details and nuances that working at the police department correlates with. Thus, the objective of talking to officers, investigators, and other professionals to find out more about the field of work was achieved due to the open-mildness of the people who were willing to participate in such discussions.

Another objective was learning about the police department in terms of organizational structure. The goal is highlighted by gaining information about how different entities are linked, which fields are interconnected, and how the cooperation works. This particular objective was met without difficulties. Students were told about each station and unit, their specialization, and how different units coexist while sharing information. Thus, this goal was achieved due to the professionalism of the mentors during the internship who gave the participants an overview of all the structural nuances of the Miami Dade Police Department.

Challenges

While it is certain that the internship was a beneficial experience for personal and professional development, there were some challenges that had to be mitigated. The most significant one was the overall unpreparedness felt during the first couple of days during the program. It may be due to stress that correlates with a new environment. Researchers point out that internships often provoke this emotion in students. According to Mensah et al. (2020), such stress usually leads to low satisfaction for interns. However, the challenge did not leave a negative feeling towards the whole experience. It was challenging to understand that the information learned in school felt like a minimal part of the fundamental skills needed for operating under the conditions of the police department. In theory, all the students were aware of certain factors, procedures, and activities required when working in the homicide department. However, in practice, there were multiple things that were new and undiscovered during the academic practice at school. Reading about communication with witnesses and inspecting a crime scene turned out to be different than physically doing it. When analyzing the situation, it was undoubtful that such a challenge was not because of an information gap or a lack of the necessary data. Instead, it was a lack of previous experience in the field that students could not receive in schools. Thus, the challenge was more of a psychological one rather than a need for more theoretical studies. After this issue was examined and comprehended, it was relatively easy to get fully involved in the process and be proficient during the internship.

Another challenge that needed to be addressed was the inclusion in the team, which can also be explained. The participants had a shared feeling of not knowing how to learn new information while not disrupting the working process. It is certain that the employees of the police department had specific duties that students did not want to interfere with, which is why there was an initial misunderstanding in regards to the level of participation in the environment. Undoubtedly, the homicide department consists of multiple people who have been operating together for multiple years and have established professional relationships, which creates an atmosphere that made some students feel out of place. However, after the first two days, it was inevitable that every mentor was willing to make the participants a part of the working process. The initial feeling of isolation was minimized by the department’s efforts towards creating a short-time team with interns included as parts of it. Thus, the challenge was mitigated through collaboration and reassuring comments of inclusion by the mentors.

Insights

One factor that can be highlighted during the internship is learning about the preparation of cases for prosecutors. This includes multiple reports, interactions, and other communicative tools in which detectives share information on the cases. Proficient communication appears to be one of the key aspects that allow prosecutors to receive all the information in an organized and structured way for a better understanding of the circumstances. Prosecutors are able to assess even tricky cases in a short period of time if the second party can share data, feedback, clues, and evidence in a professional way.

Another insight in regards to the communication factor is the interaction with witnesses. Detectives cannot use the same technique for all the people they talk to. Since the goal is to receive as much helpful information as possible, detectives choose different models when communicating with witnesses. Thus, the internship gave insight into how to use contrasting approaches depending on the situation. For example, detectives were able to form a connection by asking general questions first before, unnoticeably, moving towards more direct, precise, or possibly incriminating ones. Depending on the individual, the law enforcement used various techniques that, possibly, require personal experience to assess which one is appropriate under certain conditions. However, the lesson was to change the tone of the discussion and the overall model of the conversation based on a person’s intellectual, psychological, and circumstantial specifications.

Another insight that was observed during the internship was the emotional connection. Specifically, the benefits of having an emotional connection with the witnesses, family members, and friends of the victims in the cases were noticed. By examining the interactions between detectives and these individuals, it was sure that the victims’ close ones were willing to provide more information when the investigators and detectives were emotionally involved in the situation. Thus, there was more room for openness and proficient dialogues. While the psychological side of the job can be damaging for the law enforcement workers, it is a factor that significantly improves the interactions with people who can give insight into the victim’s life. Thus, investigators were able to collect more facts that may be crucial.

Last but not least, a problem that appeared to be prevalent for the newer detectives who do not have enough experience is the amount of work. Based on the years of active duty, detectives are assigned multiple cases at once. This creates a somewhat confusing situation from the point of view of an intern. On the other hand, detectives are already efficient in structuring the information, and no mistakes have been observed during the internship. Such effective organization of data is, perhaps, a skill acquired after years of working full time and learning how to approach multiple cases at once. However, for an intern and, probably, for newer employees, such a vast amount of information may be a significant challenge if individuals are not able to structure it properly.

Contribution

The agency itself is an effective entity that manages to fulfill its objectives. Namely, police officers and all the employees who operate within the Miami Dade Police Departments are proficient in maintaining the community safe by preventing, solving, and mitigating the effects of illegal activities. It is challenging to point out a contribution that interns could provide due to the differences in experience and skills between people who applied for the internship and investigators who have worked in the department for decades. However, there are certain aspects that, perhaps, MDPD benefited from in regards to providing the internship.

First, it is vital to mention the importance of having a second opinion. While an individual who cannot yet operate within the department does not have the necessary skills to be fully involved in the working process, it may be favorable in regards to receiving a secondary point of view. Officers, investigators, and other workers have been responsible for the same duties for an extended period of time. Such circumstances cause the narrowing of the insight due to the repeated offenses they have to investigate and deal with. On the other hand, students have an open mind since they have not yet dealt with the same situations. Thus, the intern’s contribution is, first and foremost, adding a second opinion that may or may not correspond with the general overview. Investigators gave students the opportunity to give commentary and feedback on cases. While the responses were not necessarily proper or practically correct, it was important to review a case from a different perspective.

Another vital contribution is filling in reports based on the commentary of the specialists operating within the Miami Dade Police Department. Indeed, the preliminary documents were filled in with the information received from the investigators. This was done for two reasons which ultimately benefit both the intern and the law enforcement. First, filling in a report is an essential duty in the homicide department, and interns can receive helpful knowledge in regards to the practical activity of dealing with documents. On the other hand, there was the benefit of having a helping hand with paperwork that is a vital part of the daily duties of the detectives. These reports include multiple details about the preliminary investigation, including a description of the location, witness commentary, possible evidence, and information about the crime scene and victim. Such documents have to be cohesive and detailed in order for the data to be well-documented and understood by all individuals who have access to such reports.

There was a vital collective contribution to the police department in contrast with a personal one. It was certain that all the interns who had the opportunity to contribute to the working process had created a more creative and innovative environment within the agency. Most of the people that work at the department are a part of an established team where everyone works for multiple years. The interns brought a new opinion to the table and contributed to a nuanced trail of thoughts that some of the old employees may not have thought about. While the contribution is more psychological than physical, the effects of it were visible. Soon after the beginning of the internship, the department became even more active in terms of discussions, versions, feedback, and professional commentary. Thus, the interns added more opinions into the conversations, which also complemented the improvement of the internal environment of the police department.

Best Aspects of the Internship

The internship was definitely a beneficial experience that left a positive impression. Moreover, multiple benefits contribute to the overall satisfaction with the program itself and the outcomes which correlate with the process. One of the best aspects was the communication with the detectives/investigators. The internship allowed for in-depth interactions with people who have been preventing and solving crimes for a long time and have an understanding of some of the nuances of their jobs. The professionals were open to being transparent and sharing their knowledge in regards to some of the cases, the working process, and the operation of the department itself. This was the experience that most interns found extremely helpful and useful for future careers.

Another aspect that was favorable was receiving a real-life experience that resembles actual work at a police department. Being an intern at the Miami Dade Police Department means being involved in the process and making a contribution. There was a clear strategy implemented by the curators, which implied that interns would receive all the necessary resources to understand what their future careers would be like. Thus, a person who wants to continue with this path cannot find the program unhelpful due to the resemblance between being an intern and being an active part of the working environment. Due to the openness of the employees and the desire to share their knowledge with the students, every participant felt like these weeks were the beginning of their professional establishment.

An additional aspect that was highly appreciated by every intern was the opportunity to improve from a professional perspective. Researchers point out that the objective of an internship is to create an environment in which the participant goes from novice to expert level (Harrison, 2017). This was the case during the internship at the police department. There was a clear difference between the practical knowledge before the program and after. The improvement was undoubtedly one of the critical positive aspects of the participation. Thus, an excellent factor was the overall opportunity to grow as an individual and as a future professional.

Last but not least, another aspect that was beneficial was the ability to improve on the academic level. The internship was exceptionally beneficial due to the opportunity to apply the knowledge received in school into practice. According to researchers, institutions providing high education appreciate student development in the form of internships due to the favorable outcomes that correlate with applying for such programs (Stirling et al., 2017). After the experience, students know how to use theory during experimental practice. If at school, the main objective is learning information and data, during internships, the goal is to use it in real life. Thus, one of the best aspects of the experience was improving the academic perspective and having a basis for further development in the field.

Negative Factors of the Internship

While the internship at the Miami Dade Police Department was a beneficial experience with positive outcomes, there were certain negative factors that have to be mentioned. First, there was a level of unnecessary competitiveness among the participants. The internship itself did not imply the need for competition among students. The objective was to gain practical experience, be involved in the working process, and have a first-hand understanding of what it is like to operate at a police department. However, some of the applicants chose to view it as an opportunity to highlight themselves. Thus, there were incidences when several individuals were competitive. This involved creating a monopoly during the conversations with the law enforcement, taking on duties not assigned to beginners, and participating in processes that were not designed for interns. Such aspects were not only harmful to the other interns who were there to learn but were disruptive for the overall working process of the investigators and detectives. The curators were trying to mitigate such initiatives and explained that the aim of the internship was to be a part of the team rather than show leadership in situations when it was unnecessary. However, in order to avoid communicational conflicts and disruptions, there were no direct indications for the competitiveness to stop. This was one of the negative factors that correlated with the whole internship experience.

Another negative factor was the schedule, which was not the department’s fault but rather personal overviews. As mentioned before, the internship involved a 16-week program Monday through Friday, 8 hours each day (Miami-Dade Police Department). While this is a typical schedule for most professionals, students with no prior full-time work experience found it challenging. It was complicated during the first two weeks of the program when everyone was still getting used to the program, duties, and differences. It is essential to point out that while the school also has a set schedule that each student has to follow, the internship resembles having a highly important job that requires prior experience and knowledge. Due to the lack of practical skills and the relatively challenging schedule for someone who had never worked at a police department, the beginning of the program was a rather difficult time when interns were getting used to the new conditions.

The environment appeared to be confusing and unfamiliar during the first weeks. This is another negative factor correlating with the internship. As mentioned prior, the curator was proficient in explaining the duties and the program that students have to follow. However, even the instructions did not mitigate the confusion among the participants who did not know how to react to the new environment. The team which operates at the department had the role of mentors, examples, and teachers. It is impossible to consider the relationship between an intern and an employee a partnership since everyone knows the program is temporary, and interns came to receive practical knowledge before going further with their education. Thus, there was cooperation, but there was no camaraderie because it would require months or even years of team building. This, again, is not a challenge purposefully created by the coordinator, officers, or investigators. However, there was a clear line between workers and interns, which is understandable due to the essential daily duties each worker has that are not to be altered or disturbed because of interns. Nonetheless, it is important to mention the unfamiliar environment as an adverse outcome which, however, cannot be minimized because of its phycological connotation.

Conclusion

The Miami Dade Police Department offers effective internship programs that add both personal and professional value. In terms of professional improvement, there was a chance to understand what working in the homicide department feels like. It is fair to say that no prior school experiences have such a close resemblance to real work in comparison with the internship. The current skills allow for better future professional development and will be beneficial during the post-school career. There are also factors that add personal value. This was a first-time experience working full-time, which required interns to be punctual, practical, proficient, and creative at the same time. Due to the fact that investigative work requires personal traits such as attention to detail, empathy, and constructiveness, the internship improved all these qualities.

It is essential to highlight that the internship has helped in terms of career solidification. Choosing the homicide department was caused by the initial desire to operate within a similar entity further. By becoming an intern, it was easy to establish that this domain appears to be the most exciting and captivating from a personal overview. The classroom experience that was essential for preparation for the internship was Criminal Law. This course, in particular, contributed to the general knowledge of how a police department operates, what the duties are, and how to follow the guidelines implemented in such entities. The presence of existing knowledge allowed the internship to become a tool for the practice of general theory rather than an alternative school. , Self-learning will be applied to continue the preparation for the future career. The internship gave an overview of what the job looks like and how to advance to become a good specialist. Thus, self-learning will be enough to study more about the phycological, ethical, legal, and social aspects of the career of a homicide detective.

References

Be a police intern. Police Internships. (n.d.).

Harrison, D. (2017). The Benefits of constructing an effective internship program. Journal of Research Initiatives, 3(1).

Kratcoski, P. C., & Kratcoski, P. C. (2021). Experiential education in policing and security. Springer Briefs in Psychology, 29–49.

Mensah, C., Azila-Gbettor, E. M., Appietu, M. E., & Agbodza, J. S. (2020). Internship work-related stress: A comparative study between hospitality and marketing students. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Education, 33(1), 29–42.

Stirling, A., Kerr, G., MacPherson, E., Banwell, J., Bandealy, A., & Battaglia, A. (2017). Do postsecondary internships address the four learning modes of experiential learning theory? An exploration through document analysis. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 47(1), 27–48.

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ChalkyPapers. (2023, February 13). Internship at Miami Dade Police (Homicide) Department. Retrieved from https://chalkypapers.com/internship-at-miami-dade-police-homicide-department/

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ChalkyPapers. (2023, February 13). Internship at Miami Dade Police (Homicide) Department. https://chalkypapers.com/internship-at-miami-dade-police-homicide-department/

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"Internship at Miami Dade Police (Homicide) Department." ChalkyPapers, 13 Feb. 2023, chalkypapers.com/internship-at-miami-dade-police-homicide-department/.

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ChalkyPapers. (2023) 'Internship at Miami Dade Police (Homicide) Department'. 13 February.

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ChalkyPapers. 2023. "Internship at Miami Dade Police (Homicide) Department." February 13, 2023. https://chalkypapers.com/internship-at-miami-dade-police-homicide-department/.

1. ChalkyPapers. "Internship at Miami Dade Police (Homicide) Department." February 13, 2023. https://chalkypapers.com/internship-at-miami-dade-police-homicide-department/.


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ChalkyPapers. "Internship at Miami Dade Police (Homicide) Department." February 13, 2023. https://chalkypapers.com/internship-at-miami-dade-police-homicide-department/.