If you ever have to call 911 in Irving, there’s a chance the voice on the other end of the line is that of an Irving ISD student. Through a partnership between the city and the School of Law and Public Service at Singley Academy, students have the opportunity to intern in the police department’s 911 dispatch center.
For Singley Academy senior Loy Raper, this year’s intern, there is personal motivation to answering the call as a dispatcher.
“A while back, I was going through a really tough time in my life,” she says. “I had a friend who called the police because they were worried because I wasn’t answering the phone. I ended up getting to talk to a dispatcher who I think was an angel, honestly. She really helped me. It really opened my eyes to the things people do here. They help people. They’re the actual first responders. They do what they can to make sure everybody’s safe. I think that’s a really honorable and rewarding job so I joined dispatch without a second thought.”
Students intern up to 10 flexible hours a week, depending on their class schedule and school involvement. Student interns are exposed to all facets of the job – from generating reports from databases like NCIS to taking calls in dispatch and talking to officers.
“I’ve gotten to the point where I can take calls and type at the same time,” says Raper. “Sometimes we get crazy calls, sometimes we get really heartbreaking ones, sometimes they’re just minor things.”
Although there is free reign for hands-on experiences, interns never take on a task alone. There is always a hired employee supervising and available to be a resource.
“The internship has been really beneficial to both the students and the police department,” says Kendall Dickerman, communications supervisor for Irving Police Department. “At the end of their school year, they could be fully trained and be ready to step into a position, if they were interested in that.”
Loy, who plans to pursue a career in criminal justice, is interested in joining the team full-time after completing her internship.
“It’s been a really rewarding job so far, and my family is really proud of me,” she says. “I’m hoping I get to work here. It’s great. I love doing what I do. ”
The School of Law and Public Service also matches students with internships in other city departments including animal control, code enforcement and the jail.
Students interested in similar hands-on experiences can apply for the School of Law and Public Service, as well as the four other programs offered at Singley Academy, now through Friday, January 17. For more information, visit www.irvingisd.net/apply.