When a senior at Woodland picks their senior project, they are encouraged to pick something that they are interested in and want to do.
When Dr. Frank announced that this year we would have the opportunity to do an internship, I jumped at it.
For my senior project this year I am interning at the Ansonia Police Department, and let me tell you what an experience it has been.
The lower Naugatuck Valley is home to the towns of Beacon Falls, Seymour, Derby, Shelton, and the City of Ansonia.
While Ansonia is not the biggest city in the valley, it comes close; and as with all major cities, it has a pretty fair amount of crime going on.
My first assignment as an intern for the City of Ansonia Police Department was to head up to Ansonia High School to follow around School Resource officer, Mike Barry.
My day started around 8 o’clock at the high school; nearly two hours after Officer Barry arrived to begin his.
Barry is a vital link between the Police Department and the City’s youth.
He provides other officers with intelligence they can use while dealing with certain crimes that pertain to the youth.
Barry’s main job however, is to enforce legal statutes that are broken by students while in school.
The main things Barry finds and handles is the use of tobacco on school property, breaking up fights, and just looking out for the general welfare of the school population.
So as I completed this first assignment I was definitely ready to move onto the next one after a full day on patrol at Ansonia High.
My next assignment kept me with in the heart of the Ansonia Police Department, the command center, the proverbial brain of operations, the dispatch center.
As I walked into the lobby of the A.P.D. (Ansonia Police Department) I was greeted by dispatcher Dave Blackwell.
Dave led me through the highly secure and presumably bulletproof door that can only be controlled from inside the dispatch center which is behind tinted windows and thick bulletproof glass.
The inside of dispatch looked like the launch control room for NASA.
There are buttons for everything, opening doors, locking doors, making radio transmissions, and telephones up the ying-yang.
The dispatcher work in eight hour shifts along with the patrol officers.
The dispatcher’s main duties include answering the 911 hotline, answering the non-emergency calls for service hotline, dispatching patrol units to each call, and documenting what the officers did at each call.
Dispatch was a great place to work but it did get boring and I discovered that if I did go into law enforcement, dispatch wasn’t the place for me.
My next stop was in the records department, and let me tell you what, that was even less the place for me than dispatch.
For about six hours I was stuck in a tiny office with a couple very nice ladies, doing very boring work.
It was so bad that I got a paper cut and bled on at least ten different files, now whether they were active or not I don’t know, but let’s just say that was my last stint in the records department.
Hopping around the department allowed me to see all aspects of police work, but I still hadn’t gotten the chance to do what I really wanted to do, which was to go on patrol for an entire shift with a police officer.
Department and city policy prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from participating in a ride along.
When I finished working in records I still had some time until I turned 18 and could participate in a ride along.
I sat idly by at home waiting, praying for the day that I turned 18 so I could rush to the station and achieve victory!
I actually just forgot about the whole thing until I got an email from the Lieutenant asking me when I was going to come back.
My first day on patrol was an interesting one to say the least.
Our first stop of the day was not behind a speeding vehicle, but in the stereotypical image of cops, the Dunkin Donuts.
Now just because we fit into a stereotype that day doesn’t mean we spent an entire shift eating donuts and drinking coffee.
Our trip to D&D lasted just long enough to pick up a coffee before we hit the road on our patrol route.
That first day Officer Michelle Hunt and i were the designated floater car, which meant that we would assist other calls across the city instead of focusing on one area.
That night we did some pretty standard stuff.
We stopped cars for motor vehicle violations, equipment violations, we checked on drug hot spots.
I didn’t have an especially exciting shift until the third ride along I went on.
That night I was riding with Officer Matt Dias and it was the end of shift.
We were just getting ready to head back to the P.D. and call it a night when a call for all units came over the air.
The dispatcher told every available unit to head over to a bar up on the hilltop (one section of the city) for a large bar fight possibly involving weapons.
Bar fights are extremely common in Ansonia, especially during the summertime and usually between ten o’clock at night and two o’clock in the morning when the bars close.
So as we headed toward the bar where the altercation occurred the dispatcher reported that a white pickup truck had left the scene and was being pursued by another unit.
What was convenient about this entire situation was that the chase was coming right at us, so the car I was in and Officer Harkins in the car next to us, created a moving roadblock that stopped the white pickup truck.
Before that night Officers Harkins and Dias had never done a felony car stop, their chase with the white truck was their third one that night.
To some, working in the Naugatuck Valley might seem that exciting and to others Ansonia may seem like another small valley town.
After my experience with the Ansonia Police Department I have realized that this is not the case at all.
Ansonia is as busy a city as any in the field of law enforcement.
Even though my official internship with the Ansonia Police Department is over, I’m continuing to go back and learn as much as possible about the career field of law enforcement.
Police officers are people we should always be appreciative of, no matter where they work.
Whether it’s in Beacon Falls, Seymour or Ansonia, Police officers will always be there.
Photo Credit: http://www.aolcdn.com/ch_autos/20091210_police_614_dodgepolice_rb