Getting a Bird’s Eye View of Police Work

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Senior Dana Barger experienced the round-the-clock life of a police officer during her internship with the Irvington Police

Dana Barger got a round-the-clock look at policing during her internship with the Irving Police Department.

“Working during the day shift on Monday is a lot different from working the night shift on Saturday night,” said Barger. “I got to see all types of different activities. During the day, there is a lot of traffic issues as people are going to work. You get some domestic disturbances, alarms, and accidents. Overnight, especially on the weekends, there are more DWIs, domestics, crashes, assaults, and robberies. That’s when you see more of the elevated crime.”

During most of her internship, Barger participated in ride alongs with several different officers, witnessing their unique approaches to a wide variety of cases. She also observed police recruits in the field and listened closely to the advice offered by field training officers.

“They are learning to handle cases,” said Barger. “If I want to go into this field and if I have that type of call in the future, I will keep in mind what to do. I saw what you should and shouldn’t do, and I observed good techniques on how to approach situations.”

The internship at the Irving Police Department provides an overview of the many different positions available at the agency. At the dispatch center, Barger got a behind-the-scenes look at calls coming in from the public, and officers dispatched to scenes. Barger said she never realized the extent of information provided by dispatchers to police, including background information and criminal history checks.

Barger toured the jail and watched the process of searching, booking and assigning offenders to the facility. She attended the Citizen Police Academy, where she listened to presentations from various units in the department and how they interact with residents of the community. The department, which has 350 officers, offers many opportunities, including SWAT, the K9 Unit, Investigations, and Intelligence, to name a few.

“We believe that this is a great program that gives someone who is interested in a career in law enforcement an opportunity to see how a police department really works,” said Sgt. John Argumaniz of the Irving Police Department. “Also, police departments across the country are having a hard time recruiting qualified applicants, and we believe this program will help with our recruiting. If our intern talks with friends or people at school, they may influence someone to look into a career in law enforcement.”

Following her internship, Barger is committed to pursuing a job as an officer.

“In this age and time, it is a little nerve-racking, but this is what I want to be and what I have been called to do,” said Barger. “I see and have talked to officers about what the job entails. I see the ins and out and what it takes. I am very thankful for the opportunity to have participated in this internship. I am also grateful to have had such an amazing experience with the Irving Police Department. I encourage future students to participate in an internship to gain the real-life experience and contacts. And, I highly recommend the Irving Police Department for anyone who is serious about a career in law enforcement and desire an exposure to the realities of policing.”

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