Alumni update: dream job in law enforcement
Justin S. March '14 joined New York City's Police Department (NYPD) in 2015 and attended its Police Academy from October 2015 to April 2016. After graduation from the academy, he worked patrol in the 33 Precinct, the area of Washington Heights Upper Manhattan West, for about 6 months.
While serving with the NYPD, Justin received notification from Newton, MA—his home town—to start the application process for that city's police department, due to his qualifying score on the Civil Service Exam.
"I went through the process, and a couple of months later, was offered the position of police officer in Newton, MA," Justin said. "I left the NYPD and entered the Police Academy for a second time in Massachusetts. I started the academy in September of 2016 and graduated in March of 2017. Serving on the Newton PD has been my 'dream job' since I was a kid."
He added, "I received the overall Physical Fitness Award, as well, which had been a goal of mine throughout the academy."
Student experience: internship in DC
As an undergraduate student, Justin worked for the United States Marshals Service in Washington, DC, in an internship arranged by The Washington Center and UMassD's Career Development Center. The largest program of its kind, The Washington Center provides selected students with opportunities to work and learn in Washington for academic credit.
Justin's internship included on-the-job experience working with the Marshals Service's Fleet Department, where he managed daily information about the 115 vehicles used by deputy marshals.
A crime and justice studies major, Justin had always planned for a career in law enforcement.
But his DC experience also opened his eyes to career possibilities in law enforcement at the federal level.
"I was surprised by how many law enforcement branches are represented in DC—and the security level is extremely intense," Justin said.
"Through the internship, I was able to meet with special agents and other professionals at agencies such as ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) and Interpol. I tried to make as many connections and learn as much as I could."
As part of his internship experience, Justin observed trials and hearings at the Superior Courts and completed an academic course called Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure.
Meaningful community service
Washington Center internships include a community service component, and Justin’s placement choice, at the National World War II Memorial, had great personal meaning.
"My grandfather, Sy March, served as a medic in the U.S. Navy during World War II, with the 5th Amphibious Corps, U.S. Fleet Marine Force. They were honored for outstanding heroism for support of military operations during the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945."
Justin volunteered to greet and assist veterans and their families who visited the memorial as part of the Honor Flights Network, which transports veterans to Washington.
"It was so satisfying to meet the veterans and talk to them about their service," he said.
DC: the place to be
Justin appreciated DC’s dynamic atmosphere—and the conveniences that came with his internship, such as his accommodations at The Washington Center's apartment residence at NoMa (north of Massachusetts Ave.), right in the heart of the Capitol.
"I visited lots of museums, such as Crime and Punishment and the DEA Museum. There was always something to look forward to doing, and people to meet.
"I'd encourage more UMass Dartmouth students to explore internships through the Washington Center program. I appreciate the assistance I received from Career Development Center staff who guided me through the process of attaining my internship."