by Kim Wall
It was on a cold day in January when Taylor Mitchell took his first ride-along with Officer Nicholas Cutting of the Bow Police Department as part of an internship. Sitting in the front seat of the patrol car wearing a police vest and listening to calls come in through the radio, he thought to himself, “Wow, I’m doing something not everyone gets to do.” That’s when he knew he had made the right decision to pursue a career in law enforcement.
When Mitchell, a Manchester native, graduated from Holy Family Academy in 2012, he enlisted in the Army National Guard as a Field Artillery Data System Specialist, and once he completed his initial entry training, he enrolled in the ROTC program to simultaneously serve in the Guard and attend the courses which UNH offers. The Guard would pay for his college tuition and, after graduation, he would be commissioned as a second lieutenant and serve in the Army National Guard.
Mitchell enrolled at the University of New Hampshire where he could take classes in Manchester and participate in the ROTC program on the Durham campus. UNH’s campus in Manchester allowed him to be close to home and save money on room and board, both of which were important to Mitchell. Having been only one of seven in his graduating class at Holy Family Academy, Mitchell also wanted a college that offered small classes. “Having the personal connection with the faculty was important to me,” said Mitchell.
At first he thought he wanted to major in computer science but later decided to major to psychology. He liked dealing with people and had an interest in working with at-risk youth. The psychology program and the faculty turned out to be a perfect fit. “I love all of the professors. They are all so devoted to their work and research,” said Mitchell, “It makes the classes more interesting and very interactive. And the small classes created a learning environment you won’t get anywhere else.”
Mitchell was a senior at UNH when he decided to test his interest in law enforcement through the college’s internship program. His first day was the first of several ride-alongs in the patrol car. Over the next four months he would also work in everything from records and the database to search warrants and helping officers.
He was also invited to participate in training programs offered by the police department. “I was able to attend classes at the PD about the survivors of suicide victims and how first responders and police have an effect of what happens afterwards. That tied in well with my psychology major,” said Mitchell.
“One of the biggest issues in New Hampshire is the heroin epidemic and there is also a huge mental health issue. Police officers and first responders are the first people to show up at these situations,” said Mitchell. “There are so many unknowns and you need to be able to analyze the situation. What I learned in psychology helps to bridge a gap so you can understand how to go about working in those situations, particularly children and trauma victims. There is more than just a criminal aspect to every issue.”
Mitchell completed the internship this spring and was grateful for the opportunity to meet so many great people. “The best part of the experience was getting to know everyone at the police department. It really was a great experience,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell graduated from UNH on May 18, 2017 and was commissioned into the New Hampshire Army National Guard as a Second Lieutenant Field Artillery Officer the following day. After his summer training with the Guard, Mitchell hopes to find a position within a local police department and begin the police academy later this year.
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