Student Internships with COPS

Volunteer Background Application - Become an intern today!

"Thank you for giving me the opportunity to volunteer with the PD. It's been an amazing experience and I look forward to continue working with the department and continuing to better round myself as a person and career wise. This experience has taught me a lot and have some memories that I'll never forget."

-- Jason Truhlar
Western Illinois University

Back to the COPS Volunteer page 


As an intern with the Phoenix Police Department, you must meet certain qualifications to be accepted into our program.

  • You should be either a first or second semester Senior and meet your College or University requirements for a credited internship with the Phoenix Police Department.
  • You must have no felony convictions and have a history of good personal conduct.
  • You must meet Phoenix Police Department drug standards.
  • Have fewer than 8 driving violation points, fewer than two chargeable accidents, no convictions for DUI and no loss of license as a result of a moving violation, within the previous 36 months.

The Phoenix Police Department continues to offer an internship program to students wishing to gain experience that will prove to be invaluable on their way to obtaining a career in government.


This policy establishes the organizational structure of the Student Internship Program.


This policy applies to all personnel within the Employment Services Bureau who deal in the selection and supervision of the Internship Program.


This policy outlines the procedure for processing Student Intern Applicants including recruitment, placement and supervision as it pertains to the Employment Services Bureau. The primary role of a student is a support function.


  1. Employment Services Bureau will oversee the Internship Program. Students will be considered for the Fall, Spring and Summer sessions.
  2. Inquiries: The Phoenix Police Department will accept internship applications from in state and out of state college and university students. A letter of introduction and approval must be obtained from the school being attended by the applicant. The letter should specify the following:
    1. Curriculum (student's major course of study).
    2. Student status (applicants should be a first or second semester senior at a major University or second semester sophomore if in Junior College.)
    3. Anticipated graduation date (month and year).
    4. Number of credit hours being sought through the internship (3, 6, 9, 12, 15 credit hours.)
  3. An Employment Services Background Investigator will process Student Interns. Student interns will be processed as follows:
    1. Prescreening interview (by telephone for out of county and out of state applicants).
    2. Completion of background questionnaire by the applicant and subsequent interview with the Employment Services Background Investigator to review questionnaire for completeness and accuracy.
    3. Fingerprinting occurs after questionnaire interview.
    4. Customary records check and background.
    5. Polygraph examination.
    6. Controlled substance screening.
    7. File approval by Recruiting Unit Sergeant.
    8. Placement if file is approved (notify student if application is denied).
  4. Placements: Once the student has successfully been processed, the Volunteer Coordinator will find a suitable assignment for the intern. Any Bureau or Precinct within the Department may request an intern. The Bureau or Precinct with the greatest need at the time of placement will be a determining factor as to where the intern is placed.
    1. The Bureau or Precinct receiving the intern will be responsible for the intern's duties while completing the internship. Supervisors responsible for the intern should utilize the intern in the most beneficial way possible and supplement their academic assignment with police type functions, such as patrol ride-alongs, a shift in the Communications Bureau, and other temporary assignments that would round out their internship.
    2. Interns may operate police vehicles to run errands, etc. A driving record assessment form (P.D. Letter 96) should be completed by the intern's supervisor. Copies of this form are available in the Community and Patrol Services Bureau.
    3. The intern's immediate supervisor is responsible for completing any of the school correspondence pertaining to the intern's performance. The supervisor should monitor the intern's attendance, skills and abilities, and make overall assessments of the student's progress so that the school evaluations can be completed.
    4. Discipline issues will be the responsibility of the Bureau or Precinct where the intern is assigned. The C.O.P.S. Coordinator, Employment Services Bureau should be notified of any discipline that may lead to the intern's termination.
    5. At the end of the semester notice that the student successfully completed the internship should be forwarded to the Employment Services Bureau by the Precinct or Bureau where they were assigned.
  5. Records: Employment Services Bureau will maintain a record of the applicants who apply for and complete an internship with the Department.

The primary role of a Student Intern is a support function, i.e. clerical, data entry and research. Opportunities for
observing and assisting in investigations and other activities will be afforded as time permits.

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COPS Internship F.A.Q.

Can I e-mail or fax my application?
No. Per the detailed application instructions and for security and integrity reasons, you can only mail the application to the Employment Services office or deliver it in person.

How long does it take too successfully complete the background check process?
The background check can take anywhere from two to six months to complete. The majority of younger college students typically complete their background investigation sooner rather than later.

What can I do to complete my background check earlier?
The aspect of the background check process that takes the longest amount of time to complete is getting the references returned from friends and co-workers. The sooner they can respond to the investigator's requests, the sooner you will be approved through the process.

How many hours will I be asked to intern?
The number of hours you will intern depends significantly on your school and their curriculum requirements. The typical COPS intern spends 20 hours per week in their assignment. In extremely rare cases, select students can intern 40 hours per week but that is very unique and difficult to facilitate.

Do you offer paid internships?

Can I continue on as a COPS volunteer once my internship ends?
Yes. The majority of the students who intern develop close networking relationships with several members of the sworn and civilian employees in their assignment. Those same interns typically convert to volunteers after their internships conclude and they continue to contribute towards the program and the department.

Click here for more information about the COPS Volunteer Student Internship program.