I have worked as a CTE teacher in Law Enforcement going on 14 years. I first started at Irving ISD and developed an awesome relationship with the Irving Police Department. We created the first Municipal Jail Internship in the nation. Working with Kristin Swanson the jail supervisor was huge and this did not happen overnight or with just signing a MOU. We met many times and had long conversations on things that could go wrong, where the students would be working and how to answer questions that would be raised by parents and police department command. She presented it to the Chief of Police and then once it was approved it became a huge success.
This partnership led to students working in the communications division, family advocacy, TEEN Court, Animal Service and Code Enforcement. Students started to see some of the benefits of being involved in the internships. At first we only had a couple who wanted to do the internship, then had almost all apply. They saw how this could springboard them into a paying career right out of high school. Not only that, Irving Police Department would pay for their college if it was Criminal Justice related. They even developed a part-time position at the jail so students could go to college and work as well.
Officer Swanson left Irving Municipal Jail and then transferred to Grand Prairie Jail where she began working with GPISD in the same capacity. I then went to work for GPISD and loved it. Grand Prairie Police Department was even better with working with our students. We created a stronger partnership where they allowed us to help with community service opportunities and allowed us to create our own Police Explorers Post. They have provided guest speakers to assist with those topics myself and my other teachers are not experts in. We have created similar internships within the police department and have had 5 or 6 become employed upon graduation.
I was blessed when one of my Irving students who did not do the internship called me about 5 years ago and asked if I had any job leads at the jail. I told him I did and contacted Swanson and she opened up a position for him and he applied and was hired. He worked and became a supervisor after 3 years and then applied to become a police officer with GPPD. He called me over the summer and asked if I would come to his police graduation and I did. I had 3 generations of students who were working at the jail and Omar was in the middle of that group. It was fun getting to see these young adults go and become adults who were working in the profession I had taught them.
This is why CTE internships are so important to our students.