PRINGLE — Seniors in the law enforcement/police science program at West Side Career and Technology Center left the classroom for some real-life experience shadowing police officers in Kingston and Wilkes-Barre.
The week-long internship in its 10th year put seniors next to officers investigating numerous types of crimes, including bounced checks, drunken drivers and in one student’s case, a homicide. Other students took part in correctional services and security.
Robert Arnold, 19, of Plymouth, was riding along with a Wilkes-Barre officer Thursday night when a shooting was reported on Reno Lane. One man was found on the street with a fatal gunshot wound to the head.
“I didn’t expect to see a body lying in the middle of the street,” Arnold said. “There were people yelling, crying.”
He said he stayed next to the cruiser while numerous officers tried to settle a chaotic situation on Reno Lane. He said he stayed for about five minutes and went with the officer to the hospital following the ambulance.
Emily Mansilla, 17, of Plymouth, who was assigned to Kingston police for the week, said she did not know that police investigate bad checks.
Mansilla said she became interested in law enforcement from a coloring project when she was in grade school.
“When I was little, we had a coloring assignment in class and we were told to color what we want to be and I colored a police officer,” Mansilla said. “Ever since then, I’ve been interested in police.”
She said she is getting a head start at college by attending night school at Luzerne County Community College. The class she is taking is Introduction to Criminal Justice.
WSCTC Police Science Instructor William Bevan said the internship is designed to give senior students a real- life experience of what to expect in law enforcement, correctional services, probation or security. The program has been a success for nearly 10 years with alumni becoming state police troopers, police officers or probation officers, Bevan said.
Chris Osborn, 18, of Sweet Valley, said his experience taught him that real life is different from what is taught in text books.
“There are different situations police face each day,” said Osborn, who plans to continue his law enforcement education after graduation.
Cassie Hivish, 18, of Luzerne, who won first place in crime scene investigation during a district skills competition in January, said she plans to enlist in the U.S. Navy after graduation.
“I’ve always respected police for what they do,” Hivish said.
The law enforcement/police science program instructs students in crime scene investigation, accident reconstruction, handcuffing, photography of crime scenes, fingerprinting and crime theories.