Valerie Martin – Criminal Justice Internship
Hello! My name is Valerie Martin. Currently, I am interning at New Holland Magistrate’s Court House. It is located right here in New Holland across from Power Pro Equipment. The magistrate court is the lowest court and deals with legal disagreements. My mentor is Dawn Bell. Dawn works as a secretary and schedules hearings, deals with payment plans, and a variety of other work. The main focus while I am there is to learn more about the justice system and meet new faces. During my younger years I always had an interest in the justice system and becoming a police officer. I never would have thought that I would be taking steps toward this career. This internship is a great way to gain experience in the justice system.
During my internship, I had a great opportunity to be able to go to the courthouse every day of the school week. Each day would depend on the number of court cases/hearings for that day. When I went in, there would be a paper showing the cases and the times we had for the day. It would also show the case file and if there was an officer/lawyer and their name. When it was time for the case/hearing, I would sit in the back of the courtroom. It was a great experience to listen to all of the cases. Some days there would be no cases or very few. During those days I would file files. A lot of the files included warrants, bench warrants, failure to respond, and warnings. A couple of times I was able to close cases and read police reports.
This internship was a great way to grow in so many ways. When there was downtime in between cases, I was able to have conversations with officers and lawyers. I really valued these conversations because I was able to get their perspective on how they did things. One thing that I was unsure about was whether I should go to college for a criminal justice degree. After talking with many different police officers, most of them told me that they would not recommend it. Also, talking to female officers was super helpful as well. Women are outnumbered in stations and it is becoming more common for women to be officers. I talked with Officer Heise and got her feedback on what she experienced. She told me that there would be a little bit of push back but if this is something that I really wanted to do I should just go for it.
Overall, this internship at the New Holland Magistrate Court was a great experience. It helped me figure out that I do want to be a police officer. Also, I do not need to go to college for a criminal justice degree. If I went to college, it would be for an associate’s degree in writing. This was a great way to meet so many different faces in the justice system. I really enjoyed listening to all of the cases and reading some police reports. This internship gave me great experiences and I really value everything that I learned during those last couple of months.