By: IAN BROWN
Melissa Hall started in Indiana University Police Department’s Cadet Program in December of 2014. She finished her training in Bloomington last month just before the fall semester, becoming the first female police officer for the IUSBPD.
But that’s not her only job on campus. She’s also got homework to do.
A South Bend native, Hall graduated from LaVille High School and is currently a junior at IU South Bend, as a mass communication major and criminal justice minor.
Only three students from IUSB, including Hall, have made it through the program to receive a badge and the title of a police officer, Hall said.
Upon completion of the program, full authority and power of a law enforcement official, such as the ability to make an arrest, is granted to the graduates. The department is hoping to promote the program at IUSB to get more students involved.
“It’s such a great program,” said Hall. “You start off as a cadet, and what you do is basically you’re security and you observe and watch the officers perform their duties.”
Cadets shadow the officers for about a year and then are shipped off to the academy where they undergo intense training before officially becoming an officer.
After they train and receive their badges, graduates of the program return to their campuses as part-time officers working 12-20 hours a week until they have completed their college degree. The graduates then enter the criminal justice employment field with the advantage of having a college degree, academy training and actual work experience.
“The best advice I can tell somebody joining the academy is don’t give up. You get screamed at, you throw up, it’s brutal, but we’re doing it to help you,” said Hall. “They build you up into something to be proud of. It’s actually a cool process to see the struggle and actually make yourself into a success.”
When she finds the time between the department and the classroom, she enjoys a variety of physical activities, such as golf, tennis and working out. She said it’s hard, but the department has flexible hours and works with the students and their schedules.
She is more than willing to talk to anybody interested in law enforcement and encourages students to talk to the department.
“We are very open, and that’s what this program is for,” said Hall. “We want to help people get started and on their feet in law enforcement.”