Summer BPD intern provides a ‘presence’

 

ON BIKE PATROL — Nick Kauffman of Bridgton, who completed the Lake Region Vocational Center's law enforcement program, spent his summer as an intern with the Bridgton Police Department. (Rivet Photo)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Nick Kauffman gave the Bridgton Police Department another set of eyes out on the street this summer.

In turn, the internship with the local law enforcement agency verified what Kauffman already knew — someday he wants to be a police officer.

“I learned a lot,” said the Bridgton teen, who headed to Army National Guard basic training in Mississippi yesterday.

A 2012 graduate of Lake Region High School, Kauffman completed the vocational school’s law enforcement program, rising to third in command as “squad leader” — behind the course’s instructor and class leader.

“When the school added the law enforcement program, I couldn’t help myself but to join it,” he said. “Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to get into law enforcement.”

Not only did the law enforcement program cover basic laws and self-defense, Kauffman gained a great sense of self-discipline and confidence.

“I wanted to gain more experience so I asked the Bridgton Police Department about doing a summer internship,” he said.

Local police were happy to oblige.

Although Kauffman had no arrest powers nor was he armed, the teen provided local police with a “presence,” riding a bicycle to various locations such as Highland Lake Beach and the Skate Park. Kauffman spent his time reminding people of various town rules and called in suspicious activity to Bridgton Police dispatch.

While most people he came into contact with were respectful, some did challenge his patience and self-control.

“Oh, there were a few rude people who would tell me that I was a ‘nothing’ and I couldn’t do anything to them because I wasn’t a real cop,” he said. “Despite what was said, I had to keep a positive attitude when dealing with the public.”

If trouble did arise, Kauffman called for backup. He also spent some time with local patrolmen, seeing firsthand the situations that confront police on a daily basis.

“The officers were great,” he said. “There were some very interesting nights. Not really surprising, but I saw some things that I just didn’t think people would do.”

BPD Officer Phil Jones gave a passing grade to the volunteer internship saying it was a “win-win for everyone.” Officer Jones hopes others from the high school law enforcement program will follow in Kauffman’s footsteps.

“It’s a great opportunity to really see what law enforcement is all about. You see what it is like to be a public figure and be recognizable in the community,” Officer Jones said. “Most of all, it’s an opportunity to apply what you have learned in the classroom into real practice.”

Kauffman plans to either pursue officer cadet school or active duty, possibly as a Ranger. Once he completes his military obligations, Kauffman will return to attend the Criminal Justice Academy and pursue a full-time police officer career.

“By taking the law enforcement program at Lake Region and this internship with the Bridgton Police, I feel more confident about my abilities,” he said. “I am also physically stronger than I once was.”

His time as a BPD intern was well-spent.

“It will look good on my resume,” he said.

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