My Fall 2019 internship was with the 1st District Detective’s office with the Metropolitan Police Department. This is an executive, government organization that I consider to be rather unique because it is both federal and local law enforcement. Since MPD is within our nation’s capital, they are to enforce federal laws and have some federal responsibilities, while they also enforce the city of DC’s laws, which puts them on the local level. So for example, one of their federal responsibilities is assisting with presidential inaugurations along with other federal law enforcement agencies. However, much of the work I have been doing in my internship is working with local laws and being close to the people’s everyday crime reports.
This internship was very outcome oriented. While I would argue the police department as a whole is both process and outcome oriented, the Detective’s Unit alone focuses on outcome. This is because when they receive a case it means a crime has already been committed so they handle less of the crime prevention. Their goal is to solve the case and improve closure rates. At this point it’s how can they reach the outcome of closing the case or exhausting all possible leads. My role in all of this is following up on leads and assisting the detectives in their search. Often this is watching surveillance videos, creating and searching through case reports, and writing arrest requests (AFFIDAVITS).
My immediate supervisor was Detective Greene, or in his absence any other detective who I may be assisting. Detective Greene is a lead detective who has his own caseload, predominantly in theft and robbery, and also handles assigning cases to other detectives in the unit. In the office hierarchy, above the lead detectives, are the three sergeants who work different shifts around the clock. And above them is the Lieutenant. From here the hierarchy joins in with the patrol groups hierarchy and it progresses to captain, then commander, and so on until it reaches the Chief of Police. The patrol officers have their own hierarchy of sergeants and lieutenants.
Part of what I enjoyed most about this internship was that I don’t have a daily routine. My day always consisted of something slightly different. I almost always reported to the same detective and assisted him with his cases. I went on several follow ups, including, canvasing for cameras near crime scenes, notifying next of kin for hospital victims, and interviewing victims. I also attended two crime briefings with the lieutenant, and assisted with preparing a new safety kit program for MPD. And some days, I sit behind a desk searching through reports. Overall, I preferred my days being unpredictable. It gave me different daily responsibilities, and different goals to achieve for each day.