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GIVING BACK

Cha Yang, 2014 recipient of the Audrey J. Harris Summer Internship Award, interned at Madison Police Department.

Major: Legal Studies, with a certificate in Criminal Justice and Asian American Studies

This summer, I had the opportunity to intern with the Madison Police Department. I was placed with a neighborhood officer that oversees a certain neighborhood. Because there are many misunderstandings between the community and law enforcement as a result of both negative media portrayals and encounters with officers, as a neighborhood officer, one of her many duties is to build the relationship and improve trust between the two. While she is on duty, she uses her physical presence to let the community know that the police department cares about the wellbeing of everyone. She also uses it to help deter criminal activities from occurring within the neighborhood whether is it people within or outside the community committing the crime. I have seen that the responsibilities of neighborhood officers are very important because they help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community.

My job is to shadow her and assist her on some of her responsibilities like helping out at the Farmers Market and interpret when there are communication issues due to language barrier. In addition, I also go on rides with other patrol officers from different district and help create graph charts for a detective. I received a tremendous opportunity to help out at a youth academy put together by the police department. My role was to act as a passenger who had just fled the scene of a crime in a vehicle. The role-play helps the students understand how officers respond when they pull over any suspicious car. Furthermore, it helps the students understand how officers question the suspects to ensure there are no violations of rights.

With these experiences, I have received many knowledge and experiences that will be beneficial to me in the future when I pursue my career in law enforcement. I would have never had these experiences if I did not get the opportunity to be place where I am at. I am very grateful to all the officers that took their time to educate me about police work.

Last but not least, I want to thank the family of Audrey J. Harris for this scholarship award for lessening my financial burden this summer and the Criminal Justice Program for this unforgettable opportunity. Again it has taught me the importance of giving back to the community and I hope to return this through future contributions in the field.