Normal Police Department Student Internships

We are privileged enough to get more information from Lieutenant M. Paul Smith on the types of internship and the types of work and experiences an internship will entail at the Normal Police Department to help provide direction on jump starting to completing your internship.

The following tips and information from Lt. Smith will guide you to a positive internship experience. He encourages applicants to apply early and suggests doing a ride along with the agency before the interview if they offer them. He said that this will show that you have thought about your decision to pursue this line of work and also would mean that you have invested more than the others who just shows up hoping to get picked. Keep in mind most Police Departments are being run today by people in their 40’s and 50’s, not people in their 20’s. He further states that there is a difference in the way they see the world so if it has been a long time since you had a conversation with someone that age. He recommends to ask someone you know and trust to help them prepare for the interview. It would also help to review public information on the City or Police Department such as from the department websites, pamphlets and etc.

Further, Lt. Smith explains the ideal intern candidate as someone who is Intelligent, well spoken, good communicator. They want someone who listens to the question and answers clearly. They would like to have some who prepares for each day and is a constant learner. An intern must be able to get along well with lots of different people on a daily basis and controls impulse and emotions all the time. The intern has to understand well that the work involves the ability to be exposed to sensitive issues and keep information confidential.

It always pays to prepare to make a good impression. When it comes to your interview attire, you have to dress properly and if in doubt, over dress. During the interview, answer briefly and direct to the point. Also, make eye contact when answering questions and always be truthful. When answering the questions, be aware that the longer that you speak, the less time there is for additional questions. That next question might be the one you hit out of the park and seals the deal for you.

Program Requirements:

  • A minimum grade point average of 2.5/4.0 is required.
  • Student must be sponsored by a degree granting institution with a requirement to complete an internship prior to graduation.
  • No felony crimes or crimes of moral turpitude.
  • A valid state issued driver’s license.
  • No recent drug use.

Internship Hours:

40 hours a week – 480 hours in a semester. The NPD accommodate the student’s requirements for more or less hours within reason. All hours must be completed within the dates set by the University or College granting credit for the internship.

Type of Work:

An example for a Spring/Fall Semester Schedule is shown in the table below. Summer Semester Schedules may be abbreviated. All interns rotate throughout the department. The police department attempts to accommodate variations of this schedule for each student’s individual preferences and requirements.

The intern will shadow an officer, detective or civilian employee to learn the position doing all types of different work and responding to calls. It is hard to predict what type of work will be assigned but interns in the past have been on search warrants, responded to major felony crimes, present for criminal interviews, assisted with public affairs events and assisted all types of roles. Interns are integrated into most all aspects of law enforcement. Additional areas include Police Administration, Dispatch, Youth Intervention and Accreditation.

Example of Spring/Fall Schedule:

Division Shift Duration
Criminal Investigations Division 1 1 Week
Community Service Officer 1 1 Week
School Resource Officers 1 1 Week
Records 1 1 Week
Front Desk/PSR 1, 2 or 3 1 Week
Patrol 1 1 Week
Patrol 2 1 Week
Patrol 3 1 Week
Patrol 4 1 Week
CALEA 1 1 Week
Evidence/Crime Scene 1 1 Week
Patrol 2 1 Week

Intern Selection Process:

Intern selection is competitive due to the limited number of available positions, generally two to three per semester. Selection criteria typically include seven major areas:

  1. Application / referral from University or College. Student must be currently enrolled in the degree granting institution with a requirement to complete an internship prior to graduation and must have a letter of recommendation from their internship coordinator for internship eligibility. You may download the internship application document on their website.
  2. Education (GPA & Progress). The applicant must have a grade point average of 2.5/4.0 or above.
  3. Prior Work Experience. Prior work experience, extracurricular activities, military and special skills will be considered.
  4. Oral Interview. The oral interview will be conducted to evaluate personal appearance, communication skills, and level of interest towards the position and personal demeanor.
  5. Polygraph Screening/Examination. Polygraph Screening/Examination will be conducted on all successful applicants for access to the building(s) and suitability for a position in law enforcement.
  6. Personal References. References will help verify an applicant’s good moral character and fitness for the position.
  7. Background Check. A background check of each applicant will be conducted to review past criminal history and driving record.


NPD Internship Coordinator:

Lieutenant M. Paul Smith
Criminal Investigations/Vice Crimes Division
Normal Police Department
309-454-9714 – Desk