Criminal Justice

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Notre Dame students are getting real-world experience investigating cybercrimes in an internship program that swears them in as police officers.

The interns are working with law enforcement in St. Joseph County, Indiana, Slate reports.

St. Joseph County Prosecuting Attorney Kenneth Cotter says other universities also provide college students with digital forensics experience, but only Notre Dame students are sworn in as law enforcement officers. Though the students have badges, they are closely supervised by trained officers when out in the field.

Students’ duties include running forensics programs on seized electronic devices, helping write search warrants for digital information, helping execute the search warrants, and reviewing social media accounts of people involved in investigations.

When students help execute warrants, they don’t enter a site until other officers have secured it. Students who spoke with Slate said they like that aspect of the job.

“The opportunity to be a sworn law enforcement officer at 19 years old is unlike any other,” said Julia Gately, a new intern. “It’s truly incredible. One of the things I’m most looking forward to is when we get to go with the officers to the actual scene to carry out search warrants.”