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TAMUK criminal justice students get hands-on experience at Bishop PD

Three Texas A&M University-Kingsville students are interning at the Bishop Police Department, while others are interning elsewhere in the Coastal Bend.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In the face of a police retention crisis, the criminal justice program at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK) is preparing a new generation of police officers with hands-on experience.

This semester, three criminal justice interns from TAMUK are getting hands-on experience on what it's like to be a Bishop police officer, while others are interning at places like Corpus Christi Police Department.

According to the Bishop Police Chief Edward Day, it's really encouraging to see young college students take such an interest in the field of law enforcement.

“In this world right now, sometimes law enforcement is not the most popular,” said Chief Day. “It just makes us feel good that there's still people out there that are willing to want to do this job and do the training education that's required to follow this career path and be in public service."

Chief Day also said it's hard to find folks these days who want to be a police officer. The Corpus Christi Police Public Information office reported that its budget allows for 491 paid positions in the department, but only has 441 filled.

TAMUK is training 47 cadets to fill positions like these. One of these cadets, 20-year-old junior Easton Martinez, said he loves the intern program and hopes to join the Border Patrol after graduation.

Along with breaking the barriers of the recruiting shortage, the program also encourages women to seek more representation in the police force.

"It's not really a common thing for a female to want to get into law enforcement, but I am very deeply interested in doing that," said Celeste Delvillar, another Border Patrol hopeful.

Dr. James Plank, a professor in the program, said interning is a great way for his students to make sure they're working toward their ideal career.

“I would hate for somebody to go their entire college career and get a major in something and then find out, ‘I just don't want to do this,’” said Dr. Plank.

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