In the summer of 2001, the Office of Police Complaints (OPC) established a year-round internship program for both college and law school students. College interns assist with investigations, community outreach, and other projects in the office, while law school interns perform legal research on various policy issues. Interns volunteer their time and receive academic credit for their work during the academic year. Over the summer, budget permitting, interns receive a salary for full-time work. The internship program has provided substantial benefits to OPC and the District, and the office plans to continue hiring interns during each semester and the summer.
The Office of Police Complaints internship program gives undergraduate and law school students the opportunity to advance professionally and academically by learning about and working in a developing area of civil rights protection - police accountability and oversight. There are three types of internships available:
Undergraduate interns and law clerks should have strong research, writing, and interpersonal skills, and be able to work with diverse populations. Courses in government, journalism, political science, communications, public policy, civil rights, public relations, and criminal justice are viewed favorably, as are foreign language skills (especially Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese). Law clerks also should have strong legal research, analysis and writing skills, and be familiar with electronic legal research databases. OPC’s summer law clerk program is open only to second-year law students.
Advantages of Office of Police Complaints Internship Program
- Academic credit or a stipend for internships (Stipends are available during the summer only)
- Opportunities to relate coursework to on-the-job experiences
- Opportunities for mentoring from experienced staff members
- Extensive and comprehensive in-house training, as well as encouragement of ongoing educational and professional growth
- Networking opportunities with representatives of government, law enforcement, and nonprofit agencies
Summer 2015 Interns (left to right) – Cekeithia Barnes, Bowie State University; Michelle Stilwell, Pepperdine University School of Law; Adrian Schwerdt, graduate of George Washington University; Lauren Washington, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania; TalorMarie Rudolph, Marquette University School of Law.