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First-ever recruiting and hiring internship class at Topeka Police Department

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Topeka Police Department held a three-week recruiting and hiring internship class, starting on June 3 and ending on June 21. It is the first mini police academy internship.

One of the goals is to get college interns interested in law enforcement, specifically, the Topeka Police Department. Another goal is to bring talent and diversity to the City of Topeka by branching out to other universities, which helps fill the applicant pool with diverse and qualified applicants, as well as increases the population of Topeka.

Sergeant Matt Cobb is a sergeant on third shift and has been a police officer for 12 years. He is temporarily assigned to run the internship.

“We have students in here as far away as the University of Southern Mississippi. If we can bring people here through this internship, and they decide to move here and get a job here, we are increasing the population of Topeka. So, that’s kind of the whole point, recruit talented diversity and actually raise the population of Topeka,” stated Cobb.

Sergeant Vidal Campos is the recruiting and hiring Sergeant for the police department. He has been a police officer for 16 years.

“Our ultimate goal is to get students that once they graduate, that are interested in becoming police officers that at least we give them the opportunity,” said Campos.

The class teaches students the duties of a police officer that are working the streets. Through the internship, students are able to learn what police work is about.

“When they (students) sit through classes that are put on by different units, they are learning a lot,” said Cobb. “What they can benefit from coming here in this internship is we can really expose them to what law enforcement is all about.”

“They (students) will get the majority of their hours from field operations, people that are on the streets, so we put them to different shifts. First shift, second shift, third shift,” explained Campos.

When asked about his most memorable moment in the internship class, Campos said, “Right now, it’s just the way all the students are getting along with each other. Because if you think about it, everybody comes from different backgrounds, different states, so for them to work as processed or working as a team, that’s one of the most enjoyable things I like about the program right now.”

This internship class includes 13 students from Washburn University, Lincoln University and the University of Southern Mississippi. The students will receive over 150 hours to get their three credit hours.

Students were selected from an interview process. “They (students) have to be selected… We want to make sure that we were getting the student that is interested in law enforcement,” said Campos.

Students can learn and benefit a lot from this internship. It lays down a solid foundation for their future careers. Interns have the opportunity to take the physical and written tests that entry-level police officers are required to pass. The internship also conducts hiring mock-interviews so students know what kind of questions to expect.

The Topeka Police Department wants to make the internship an opportunity that may lead to a job after graduation for the interns.

Alexis Werner is a 2019 graduate from Washburn University with major in forensic investigation.

“I love it… Coming in, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from it because I didn’t want to become a police officer, but they changed my mind and has really made me want to do this field,” stated Werner. “(We gained) a lot of experience. Because we’re doing a lot of stuff with each unit with TPD (Topeka Police Department). So, if I decided to go through the academy, I already know a lot more than others who didn’t ever intern with them and have the opportunity to learn more on top of what I already know.”

Students from other two universities also enjoyed this internship. Esmeralda Gonzalez is a forensic science senior from the University of Southern Mississippi. Xjavion Boyd is a criminal justice senior from Lincoln University.

“I love it because it shows a different point of view of what they do,” said Gonzalez. “Since they show us more hands on, you get the little like secrets or xxxxx that you can later on using in the academy… Also the tricks that you can use in real life.”

“(The internship class) Give me great experience on a lot of stuff that I didn’t know a lot about… They basically taught me hands on, so great experience, and I benefit a lot,” stated Boyd.

Edited by Abbie Barth, Adam White

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