Cops, robbers and internships

Two Flagler College students experience life in the Sheriff’s Office

Photo by Shannon Ginn
The Flagler students have done everything from SWAT team training to checking on sexual predators to booking people at the jail.

By Emily DeLoach

The usual internship doesn’t deal with DUIs, domestic disputes or sexual predators, but Ashley May and Audra Leis weren’t looking for “usual” when they chose their internships.

Last year the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office started an internship program for students interested in law enforcement.
According to Sgt. Chuck Mulligan, the program sends interns out with law enforcement so they can understand its full workings. May and Leis are currently in this program.

So far the girls have spent time at the jail, rode with deputies to crime scenes, learned how to defend themselves and observed training sessions for officers.

During a routine check on a sexual predator, May was there when the probation officer found a sword under the man’s bed. Since having the sword was a violation of his probation, the probation officer then alerted the police and the man was arrested and brought to jail.

“It is eerie to see the responses from the people we arrest. Many of them are so compliant and you would expect them to throw a fit and be angry,” Leis said.

May was with a deputy when he arrested a man for driving under the influence. The man denied the charge and refused to take a breathalyzer test. He has a record for three previous DUIs and has had his license suspended.

Through their experiences, Leis and May have witnessed the inner workings of the Sheriff’s Office. May says that she was overwhelmed by how much paperwork there is in booking someone at the jail.

“Its not like on television where the cops just arrest someone and then just put them in jail. It’s a long process that many people do not know about,” May said.

May is majoring in political science and minoring in psychology. Leis will be graduating this semester with a major in psychology and a minor in sociology. Both said they would have majored in criminal justice if it were offered at Flagler.

“The most interesting aspect of the internship is being out on the road. In one night you can go from call to call and it is such an adrenaline rush,” May said about the internship. On one evening when May was out with a deputy, they got a call to an attempted suicide and an attempted robbery.

While riding with a deputy, Leis was involved in a car chase with a man who fled the scene of a crime. She says the feeling of it was like nothing she has ever experienced.

Leis and May agree that there are negatives to working in law enforcement. One is the divorce rate of officers and the effect the job has on relationships.

May also says that it is hard for her to talk to friends and family about the things she sees while interning.

Mulligan wants the girls to get a good feel for law enforcement so they can find out whether they wish to pursue careers in the field.

“These girls have gone above and beyond their requirements for the internship,” Mulligan said.

“From everything I have seen at this point, I’m thinking about becoming a violent crimes detective,” said Leis.

May is looking to continue her police training by attending the Police Academy this August and will take night classes while continuing her
education at Flagler.

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