PERF and Baltimore Police Department Partner with Morgan State University and Coppin State University for Summer Internship Initiative
Baltimore – Today, Executive Director Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department (BPD), President David Wilson of Morgan State University, and President Anthony Jenkins of Coppin State University announced a new partnership between PERF, BPD, and Baltimore’s two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Morgan State University and Coppin State University. The announcement for the collaboration was made during a press conference held on the campus of Coppin State.
Under the partnership, eight students or recent graduates of the two universities will spend the summer working in the Baltimore Police Department, learning about police operations, and offering insights on how policing in diverse communities such as Baltimore can be improved.
“PERF is proud to fund this pilot program and eager to learn from the students,” Mr. Wexler said. “We hope this pilot will provide insight into building a national program. Communities are faced with unprecedented challenges in building trust with the police and attracting the best and brightest to serve. The profession’s complexities call for building bridges to the next generation of police officers, and HBCU graduates are critical to advancing the policing profession in a manner that reflects diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
The HBCU Summer Internship Program is an historic partnership. This innovative pilot initiative challenges current college students and recent graduates to learn the inner workings of the BPD and the importance of good policing in our communities.
“Paid internships are always attractive to students who want to get some work experience under their belt while understanding the culture of an organization, and this pilot program is a terrific way to expose students on HBCU campuses to the multiple career opportunities within BPD and police departments across the United States,” said David K. Wilson, president of Morgan State University. “When many people think of police work, they often only think of patrolling. But there are so many opportunities in data analytics, finance, accounting, forensics, public administration, and journalism. I applaud the investment PERF is making and thank Commissioner Harrison for his advocacy of Baltimore’s HBCUs. Morgan State is thrilled to be a part of the pilot program, and I am confident we will see more graduates of HBCUs working in the policing profession because of it.”
PERF is funding the pilot program through a generous donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott (Morgan was also a beneficiary of a transformational gift from Scott). PERF will award each intern a $10,000 stipend for the 10-week (40 hours per week) internship, which will introduce the interns to a variety of policing-related experiences inside and outside the BPD. PERF will closely monitor and evaluate the program for possible expansion to other jurisdictions in the United States where HBCUs are located.
The students participating from Morgan include Yasmine J. Bryant (Political Science), Fortune O. Olayinka (Information Systems), and alumnus Cheikh S. McKissic (who graduated in 2022 from the University of the Arts with a B.S. in Music, Entrepreneurial, Technology after attending Morgan).
“Mentorships and on-the-job training often open doors that can lead to potential careers for the future leaders and members of our workforce,” said Commissioner Harrison. “I am looking forward to working with these interns to help pave a path to their success – and, potentially, bring new, energetic, thoughtful members to the Department.”
The interns will be assigned to one of the following areas in the BPD: Operations Bureau, Special Investigations Section, Media Relations Section, Information Technology Division, Equity Office, Education and Training, Legal and Government Affairs, Consent Decree Implementation Unit, or Forensic Sciences Section. The interns will also participate in ride-alongs with police officers, shadow a commander for a day, travel to PERF’s offices in Washington, D.C., visit the training academy at the Anne Arundel County Police Department, meet and ask questions of police chiefs throughout Maryland, tour the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, and visit numerous community-based organizations and criminal justice partners serving Baltimore City.
The program will conclude with each intern completing a capstone project, including a written report and oral presentation on a specific function in their area of assignment. The projects are expected to reflect research, data analysis, and national best practices in support of recommendations for organizational improvement.