Thursday, August 31, 2023

On the job

Police internship program provides law enforcement experience

Mya Proctor
Members of the Northville Township Police Department hosted a pair of college-bound interns who were interested in better understanding law enforcement this summer. 

Mya Proctor, 18, of Northville, and Brianna Kowalchik, 19, of Dexter, worked side-by-side with officers this summer. They assisted with investigations, reviewed cold case files and went for ride-alongs. In one case, Kowalchik acted as a translator at a construction site where an injured employee only spoke Spanish. 

“I'm not fluent in Spanish by any means, but I knew some words that actually helped the situation, so I was able to assist the police department that day,” Kowalchik said. 

Brianna Kowalchik
One of the core concepts of the mission of the Northville Township Police Department is that of a true partnership, said Detective Sgt. Dan Jones who oversees the internship program. The intern/officer relationship is a true reflection of that, he added. Officers share their shift and advise the interns and the interns assist the officers, so they teach each other. 

The internship has been transformative for Kowalchik, she said, who is changing her major at University of Mississippi  after receiving the same advice about her criminal justice major from multiple officers during her time at the department. While she wants a career in law enforcement, she doesn't want to be a police officer. 

“With that major, the only thing I can do with it is be a cop, several officers told me,” she said. “My school didn't mention that. The officers suggested accounting, something in technology or medical instead, but I don't really want to do medical. I'm probably going to do something in business and then minor in criminal justice.” 

She is grateful she received that career advice as she enters her sophomore year giving her time to discern a new major. 

Proctor, a recent Northville High School graduate, is heading to Michigan State University. She plans to become a lawyer and thought the internship would fuel her passion and understanding of law enforcement for a career in law. It has definitely opened her eyes, she said. 

“I was surprised by the vast amount of paperwork that always has to be done,” Proctor said. 

She also has a better understanding of why an officer draws or fires a gun. Proctor used MILO, a firearms training simulator, which allowed her to shoot blanks with a gun replica toward a video screen showing real-life scenarios, which tests the user's ability to assess a police situation. 

“There may have also been a zombie shooting,” she quipped, referring to MILO's zombie-themed training module. 

Northville Township Police Department benefitted greatly from Proctor and Kowalchik's participation this summer, Jones said. 

“An internship program is perhaps one of the most unique ways to build trust and legitimacy with citizens in that it allows them a first-hand look into the men and women who provide selfless service each day,” he said. 

Proctor agrees. “I learned that police officers do not have bad intentions,” she said. 

“They genuinely want to look out for the people of Northville. All of the officers have a passion for what they do and are always keeping the people in mind.”