California University of Pennsylvania senior Aaron Sukitch has been interested in police work since he was a kid. “I’ve always liked the idea of being able to help people,” he said.
The criminal justice major is learning first hand what it’s like to be a police officer as Mt. Lebanon Police Department’s newest intern.
“TV sometimes dramatizes what goes on, so I thought it would be better to take an actual look at the department and see what it was like before I made any final decisions… See if this is really the path I want to go down,” Sukitch said.
In high school, Sukitch did his senior project on police work while at nearby Baldwin High School. He had such a good experience during a ride along with Mt. Lebanon police, he decided to apply for a college internship with the department when it came time.
He’ll get six credits for 280 hours spent working this summer. So far, he’s worked the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shifts. The midnight shift is next on the agenda. In his first six weeks, he’s had the chance to ride with officers and visit traffic court, the shooting range and the drivers training precision obstacle course. He’ll also spend a day with the Mt. Lebanon Fire Department and Medical Rescue Team South Authority, where his dad works as a paramedic.
“I joined hoping to get a better understanding. They talk about what you’re going to be doing in school, but you really don’t understand it until you see it,” Sukitch pointed out.
Twenty-three-year veteran Cpl. Jeff Kite oversees Mt. Lebanon’s police internship program. “It’s not always like the movies and TV shows,” he said.
Kite didn’t have the opportunity to do an internship when he started his career. “I think it would have been great, honestly,” Kite said. “I think people would be shocked to learn how much there is to learn,” adding an internship offers a great behind-the-scenes look at how things actually operate.
“They don’t do paperwork on TV,” Kite said, pointing out it’s a very important part of the job. “For those who don’t make it through the probationary year, it usually comes down to report writing.”
Report writing is one of the classes Sukitch plans to take during his final year at Cal U.
“Mt. Lebanon would be a pretty good prospect, in my opinion, but I think I have to take a more wide look and see if I want to travel outside the state, or if I just want to stay here,” he said.