Showing students the ropes necessary to make the climb

By Andrea O'Neill '06

Chief Scott Fogel has made it a point to provide as authentic an experience as possible for each aspiring officer by melding hands-on experiences with their academic coursework and helping the student make an informed decision about their career path.

Chief Scott M. Fogel of the Lehigh Township Police Department doesn’t just focus on policing. 

As Chief, Fogel is responsible for the well-being of his officers, and that includes interns. Fogel has made it a point to provide as authentic an experience as possible for each aspiring officer by melding hands-on experiences with their academic coursework and helping the student make an informed decision about their career path.

“I wouldn’t trade my masters and bachelors degrees for anything," said Fogel. "Everything I learned, from core classes to communication skills and the [professional] experiences that give you so many things to talk about when you go for interviews. Everything connects.”

The Walnutport, PA police department began taking Huskies as interns when resident and BU student Nicholas Lessig ‘21 approached the department about an internship. Under the direction of Fogel, Lessig and other department interns have had the opportunity to experience every aspect of policing: from filing reports and writing citations to experiencing the jolt of a taser and training with the K-9 unit. The interns also got the chance to do detective work and observe the supervisory staff.

“We try to make sure they get a touch of everything, so they know what the job encompasses and not just what they’ve seen on TV,” said Fogel. “They use the same systems we utilize, and it gives them a leg up. It’s about the whole process – students must accumulate as much info as they can so they know what they are getting into.”

lessig '21

Such an approach helps the aspiring officer and benefits the department, fellow officers, and the profession as a whole. Fogel says that hosting interns also help build community relations and find quality candidates as policing comes under more scrutiny and pressures to change.

“They get an opportunity to use our systems, so it’s like having another partner in your vehicle that can run a tag, look up info, or initiate a crash report,” said Fogel. “What people see on the news tends to make policing seem unwelcoming, so interning gives [students] the opportunity to decide if policing is really for them and avoid decisions that can adversely affect your ability to get a job. “

The support doesn’t end when the internship is over, either. Lessig has been working with officers to prepare for his oral exam and interviews for positions with several regional police departments. Lessig is ready. Not only has he gained experience from his internship, but an entire police department on his reference list.

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