Summer Intern Chronicles: Rachel Bunce from Westfield State University

Police Cadet with Dennis Police Department
Rachel Bunce is a Police Cadet with Dennis Police Department. She attends Westfield State University. (DPD photo)

This is part of a continuing series of "Summer Intern Chronicles" that Cape Cod Today will publish throughout the season.  Many local college students undertake internship experiences during summer break.  These internships can truly form a young person as a professional in their chosen career path.  For many, the internship is their first work experience in the career they hope to pursue.  These internship stories are intended to give the students an opportunity to share their experiences, showcase the work of their sponsoring organization and put in a plug for their college.  The stories are written in the students' own words and published verbatim as submitted.  

If your Cape & Islands or Plymouth organization hosts summer interns and you'd like them to participate, please email [email protected] and we will send you the project guidelines.

Rachel Bunce from Westfield State University

My name is Rachel Bunce and I grew up in Dennis. I attend Westfield State University studying Criminal Justice and Chemistry. Every summer I travel back home and spend a good amount of my time as a Cadet for the Dennis Police Department, which consists of many tasks that have influenced my learning in the area of criminal justice. As a Cadet, my main responsibility is to assist the dispatchers. I take business line calls, 9-1-1 calls, dispatch calls to officers, as well as some other small tasks around dispatch. Also, I assist administration by entering parking violations in our computer database, as well as assisting officers by conducting prisoner watch of arrestees. Sometimes, an officer will take me on patrol for a ride-a-long. This helps me a great amount when I’m back in dispatch as I can actually see the locations I would be sending officers to. Every day I learn something new as working in dispatch you do not see…well, hear the same thing twice. Some things you can’t learn in a classroom, such as how to remain calm while handling a 9-1-1 phone call when someone is screaming on the other end. You also don’t learn how to listen to the radio as sometimes it can be very hard to distinguish what an officer might be saying. It is one thing to learn in a classroom, which is beneficial, but it is another to learn by doing and personally, I learn better that way.

Over the course of four summers I feel as though I have grown as a professional. I started here when I was 18 and had little experience, besides my internship senior year of high school with the Dennis PD. I learned more on how to communicate with the public, work with others in stressful situations, to multitask and conduct myself in a professional manner. All of these skills I can use to help me in the classroom as well as in any career.

If I could I would love to stay on the Cape, but the career path I would like to pursue has limited opportunities on Cape. My goal is to obtain a career within the field of forensic science. After I finish my last year at Westfield I’d like to attend a graduate school to obtain my masters in forensics. As a Cadet, I have gained knowledge that will assist me in achieving this goal.

The advice I would give for a college student seeking an internship or just any job while still in school is to try to find something related to the field you would like to see yourself in one day. Whether you find something in the exact line of work or just something in relation to it, the experience will help prepare you for your future. Don’t get an internship or a job just because it seems easy. Find something that will challenge you. You will learn your strengths and weaknesses and you might even realize that the career path you thought you wanted might not be what you thought it would be.


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