John Hanczaryk saw firsthand what it’s like to be a police officer during a recent internship with the Falls Township Police Department.
The West Chester University criminal justice student and Levittown resident accompanied police officers on a variety of calls during his eight- or 10-hour shifts throughout his three-month-long internship.
He assisted in a fatal vehicle accident on North Oxford Valley Road by putting on a vest and helping to direct traffic. Hanczaryk rode along during speeding enforcement details, traffic stops and accompanied officers on calls for domestic disputes. During one call, Hanczaryk joined police on a call involving an adolescent who had threatened harm to her parents and sibling. On another, he saw a body of someone who died at their home.
“I saw a lot more than I thought I would,” Hanczaryk said. “The dead body was a little bit hard to see, mostly because of the smell.”
Despite the challenges, nothing deterred Hanczaryk from his dream of becoming a police officer.
“I want to start off as a patrolman,” he said. “I do want to stay local to where I live.”
Following graduation in December, Hanczaryk plans to attend the police academy. Afterward, he would like to find a police officer position in either Falls Township, Middletown, or Bristol. Eventually, he said detective work or drug enforcement might be areas of interest as he advances through the police ranks.
A highlight of his internship was assisting with activities during the Youth Police Academy. The 10-day program is geared for seventh- through 12-grade students interested in a law enforcement career. Various police and law enforcement from throughout Bucks County attend sessions and provide students with lessons that actual police recruits take on as part of their training.
“Falls Township was great to work with. They were always kind to me and helped me out with any questions I had,” he said. “It was a great internship. I saw a good amount of everything, more than I expected.”