Southeast Missouri State University student Jennifer Rubin is a young woman who wants to solve problems. She wants to be a resource for others. She wants to rebuild relationships between communities and law enforcement.
“I want to be a police officer,” she says.
Rubin took a large step toward accomplishing all of those goals this past summer when she completed an internship with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in Alexandria, Virginia.
Rubin, who is majoring in communication studies with minors in criminal justice and writing, will enter Southeast’s Law Enforcement Academy next fall.
“The program gives college credit for police academy training, which was a big part of my decision to come to Southeast,” she said.
A native of St. Louis, Rubin is happy to be advancing her career goals and was excited when she was accepted into the IACP internship program.
“I was selected to help out with IACP’s charitable foundation, which raises money for police officers who were injured in the line of duty,” Rubin explained.
The internship made the best use of Rubin’s areas of interest, including writing and fundraising.
“One thing I did was write stories about previous winners of the Police Officer of the Year Award,” she said. “I learned about police officers committed to exceptional service and sacrifice, the kind of police officer I hope to be.”
Rubin is also familiar with fundraising– when she was 12 years old, she started a nonprofit organization called “Rockin’ 4 Relief,” which has raised nearly $110,000 for the families of police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics killed in the line of duty.
Rubin’s internship spanned 12 weeks during the summer of 2016. While she was there, IACP called a meeting of its summer interns and fellows and, as Rubin explained, together they discussed “improving the relationship between law enforcement and the people they serve. We also talked about the use of force continuum, gun rights, racial issues, the media, and everything we could think of that had played a factor in recent police shootings. We all wanted to work together with these communities. We all had the desire to make things right.”
The IACP internship also gave Rubin other opportunities to advance her career goals. She toured the Pentagon, met members of the Pentagon police force, and rode along with police officers in Washington, D.C.; Prince Georges County, Maryland; Norfolk, Virginia; and in Toronto, Ontario, in Canada.
“Hands down, my favorite part of my internship was interacting with IACP’s fellows, who were all full-time police officers detached from their regular duties to work with and learn from IACP for one year,” she said.
Rubin said she remains friends with these fellows, who were with local police departments in Maryland and Texas, as well as officers working in federal agencies — Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs.
Rubin says one of her most important career goals is to “show people that police officers are human beings, just like everybody else. I think some people look at police officers as a ‘force’ rather than individuals who have friends and families, good days and bad days.”
Rubin is looking forward to beginning her formal training at Southeast’s Law Enforcement Academy next year.
“People call the police when they are having a problem that is so big, they can’t solve it themselves. They need help. I want to be that person to provide comfort and relief and help them solve that problem,” she said. “I want people to know that they can call 911 if they need help, and that the help that arrives won’t care about your color, your age, your gender or how much money you have. I want to improve community-police relations so that people will know that police officers are here to protect everybody.”