The Directorate of Emergency Services here sponsors the Austin High School criminal justice internship program by training students in aspects of law enforcement. The hands-on experience is set up to validate what the students learned in the classroom and reassure their motivation to continue in the field. This is the final step before graduation. The Austin High School seniors come to Fort Bliss two or three times a week and go through rotations within the DES system. So far, this year\'s interns have experienced the military police operations desk, the Special Reactions Team, military police investigations department, patrol, police administrative work, and some had the opportunity of being in the dispatch center, where 911 calls are received. "These students get a first view of law enforcement in the military," said Fort Bliss police administration supervisor Lt. Salvador Hernandez. "They see the different sections that are in the law enforcement agency and the different tasks that each section does. Every section has a piece of the pie. "Some of these students are looking at military as a career path, while others are planning to study criminal justice in college," continued Hernandez. "This lets them see both sides of the coin." Selena Moran and Oscar Hernandez, students in the program, said they enjoy working with Fort Bliss law enforcement, each for different reasons. "It's really fun. It's nice to come out and see what an actual job is like," said Moran. "This makes me more excited." Moran was initially interested in forensic science, but is now considering other options in the field. She said the internship here fuels her desire to stay interested in criminal justice as a whole. "I enlisted in the Marine Corps and ... the [military occupation specialty] I chose is military police," said Oscar. "I like being here. I get more experience ... and I get to learn about the military lifestyle." Oscar said he feels he is getting the knowledge needed to be a step ahead of his peers upon his entrance into the military. Of all the time spent here so far, both seniors said the SRT training spiked their enthusiasm the most, because these young adults like action. "The SRT training was fun," said Oscar, even after witnessing someone get detained at the police desk. "We went out with them, saw how their program works," said Moran. "We were outside with the snipers and ... learning the proper ways to communicate [on the radio]. ... You see it on TV all the time and being able to see it in real life, it was fun." Fort Bliss Police Chief Derrick Washington is an avid supporter of the program and said he wants to ensure the students develop a strong understanding of military and civilian police operations, said Hernandez. Hernandez, who has worked with the students closely, compliments their maturity and continues to nurture them, because "if you are able to mold a young child, or young adult, you will be able to set them on the right path of excellence and humanity. "If we can take just a small amount of time to mold these students," said Hernandez, "I think it's worth it."

Page last updated Tue November 23rd, 2010 at 14:29