CPS & CPD Youth Internship Academy

An Interest in Law Enforcement

Chelsea High School sophomore Cleny Reyes pondered, “I always wanted to learn about law enforcement and criminal justice.”For Reyes and a cohort of her fellow Chelsea High School students, that interest is being developed through their participation in the Youth Internship Academy, a partnership with the Chelsea Police Department to offer students hands-on experience to learn about law enforcement and criminal justice.

The Student Experience

This spring, a group of 12 students is participating in the Youth Internship Academy. The academy is structured to offer students both in-classroom learning opportunities, and physical training with CPD Officers such as Officer Maria Barbosa (pictured above). The structure provides students with a holistic view of law enforcement, and provides a lens into all the career paths available to them. Topics/instructors that students have learned about/from include:

  • CPD Drug Unit
  • History of Policing
  • Military
  • CPD Downtown Taskforce & Substance Abuse
  • Physical Training (PT)
  • Drill and Ceremony
  • Run Hide Fight (The Police Department’s Perspective)
  • Motor Vehicle Law
  • Nutrition
  • Identification/Field Interrogation and Observation
  • Police K-9 Unit
  • Criminal Investigation Division
  • Forensics/Finger Prints
  • Crime Analysis
  • Recruitment, Scenarios & Public Speaking
  • Gang Unit
  • Defensive Tactics
  • Domestic Violence
  • Tours of Nashua Street Jail, 911 Dispatch Center, CPD & the Chelsea Courthouse

The Youth Internship Academy occurs on four days from Monday-Thursday for two hours after school. On Friday’s, the students meet with the Pathways, Internship and School to Work Manager Geymi Santana Francisco to discuss the internship and receive support if needed.

Reyes believes that the content of the internship and its structure has helped her immensely. “It has benefitted me a lot academically. I was not paying attention in school. This class with the police academy helped me a lot with how to stay focused in school and doing my work.”

CHS Students Enrolled in the Youth Internship Academy:

  • Brandon Quinonez
  • Cleny Patricia Reyes
  • Christopher Hernandez
  • Belissa Santos Famania
  • Arquimedes Felix
  • Ever Matute Villafranca
  • Diego Barrientos Urquilla
  • Jennifer Lopez
  • Carlos Joel Gutierrez Maldonado
  • Tyron Minardi

Physical Training

School Resource Officer (SRO) David Batchelor Jr. has been an SRO for seven years, and a member of the Chelsea Police Department (CPD) for 11 years. He along with Officers Maria Barbosa and Garrison Daniel run the Youth Internship Academy. The CPD team coordinates the presence of guest instructors, develops the course materials for the students, and establishes the regiment of physical training that the students partake in.

The PT is a core element of the academy experience, but it is more than just working out. Members of CPD teach the students discipline through a variety of ways including regular exercise, but also through following commands such as at easeattention, and teaching students how to stand in formation. Batchelor reports that the positive results of this routine are seen in just a few weeks. Students go from, at the start of the internship, gathering in a circle prior to begin PT to standing in military formation awaiting instruction. The PT component is where Batchelor sees a lot of development and benefit for the CHS students.

“They end up loving to do it. They are scared at the beginning. They don’t know what to expect, but by the end that’s their favorite part. They love doing it. And the discipline that comes with it is something that these students will never forget. They’ll carry it with them off the field and into the classroom. A big part of this academy is discipline and respect. We try to really preach that throughout the whole course.”

Students are not required to have any prior experience with any sort of PT, and the CPD officers proceed at whatever pace is necessary to ensure that students learn and are safe while working out.

Reyes expressed how pleased she was in how the officers work with the students to help them exercise. “Not all of us have experience working out, and I thought we weren’t going to be supported with that. Like we would go straight into lifting 50 pounds [or something like that], but we are developing. I feel really supported that they [CPD officers] don’t judge us.”

Internship Impact

Every year, the Youth Internship Academy develops good habits in students, and creates an opportunity for students to receive credit while learning about the law enforcement field. It supports a pathway to careers upon graduation from CHS. In the past seven years, multiple academy graduates have gone on to enlist in the military. Batchelor even believes that they are close to seeing former Academy students take the police exam, which you must be 21 to take.

Over his seven years of work in schools, Batchelor is particularly proud of one fact about the Youth Internship Academy. “We have not had one student quit. Not one. They’ve all stuck it out. They’ve all gone through it. They enjoy it.”

Reyes is a student who, upon learning about the Academy, was attracted to it as it relates to her desire to potentially enlist in the military one day. It has provided her with real-world insight into law enforcement, and all the different career paths that exist in criminal justice. The experience has also personalized police officers for her:

“When I was little, I always thought that as policemen, you had to find criminals and stuff. Just like cops and robbers. But then they explained to us that there were different branches like detectives, people that help with computers and technical stuff, and all that. There are a lot of different jobs in the police force.”

Batchelor also observed that the Academy enlightens its students on all that encompasses being on the police force. “I think the students definitely see all of policing, and not just what you see on TV. They experience the different aspects of policing.”

Chelsea Chief of Police Brian Kyes added, “My Officers have informed me that the students involved in this program are not only learning a great deal about local policing in an urban environment but they are also building formidable long lasting relationships based on mutual trust and respect. The same holds true for those who wear the uniform. What better way to bridge the existing gap of uncertainty than to get together and see each other for what we really are. This program certainly furthers that interest and is absolutely a win-win for everyone involved.”

Reyes delivered a succinct response when asked if there was anything else that she has enjoyed about the Academy:

More Internship Opportunities at CHS!

Are you interested in a future internship at CHS? Please contact Pathways, Internship and School to Work Manager Geymi Santana Francisco at santanafranciscog@chelseaschools.com to learn more. CHS students are currently enrolled in internships in the fields of criminal justice, education, and more! Parents, guardians and students are welcome to reach out to Geymi Santana Francisco to learn about the internship programs offered at CPS, and the process to get involved.