Teenagers 'Explore' the World of Law Enforcement at FordhamContact: Gina Vergel
Area teens conduct a mock investigation on the Rose Hill campus as part of the New York City Police Explorers program.
Photo by Bruce Gilbert
The simulated case of financial fraud that unfolded at Fordham’s Rose Hill campus on Aug. 6 had all the elements of a classic whodunit mystery.
Greed, cover-ups, suspects, and a group of raw police recruits ready to make a name for themselves by finding the culprit.
The recruits were hundreds of New York City-area teenagers, who were on campus for two weeks as part of a summer program run by the New York City Police Explorers.
They were participating in a scenario staged by the IRS Criminal Investigation Unit that required them to interview "persons of interest," such as Sam Moneymaker, a fictional accountant tied to the mock case of white-collar crime.
The summer camp, an outgrowth of the regular, year-round Police Explorers program, began in 1995 to teach young men and women, ages 14 to 21, about law enforcement.
Fordham has played an integral role in the local program since its inception, when directors asked John F. Carroll, a retired New York police captain and Fordham’s head of safety and security, if the Explorers could use Rose Hill as a training ground.
Each August, "platoons" featuring uniformed teens march in unison throughout campus. While at Fordham, they take part in daily physical training drills on Edwards Parade, at Rose Hill Gymnasium and in the swimming pool at the Lombardi Center.
The teens attend classes on various law enforcement topics taught by officers and representatives from several agencies, including U.S. Customs and Border Security, the Nassau County Police Department, the FBI and MTA Police.
Bronx native Martin Koushall, 16, who led the interrogation of Moneymaker, said he hopes to be a police officer in the Bronx someday.
"It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do," Koushall said. "This is a great program because we bond with the officers we interact with every day."
Sixteen-year-old Naomi Feliz said she joined the program because it seemed like a good way to stay busy over the summer. Now she is considering law enforcement as a career.
"It was a great way to see what police officers go through," Feliz said. "People think they just walk the streets or drive their patrol cars, but they do so much more."
The Explorers' experience at Fordham is capped by a week of outdoor challenges at an upstate Boy Scout camp, followed by a formal graduation at 1 Police Plaza in Manhattan.
Founded in 1841, Fordham is the Jesuit University of New York, offering exceptional education distinguished by the Jesuit tradition to approximately 14,700 students in its four undergraduate colleges and its six graduate and professional schools. It has residential campuses in the Bronx and Manhattan, a campus in Westchester, and the Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station in Armonk, N.Y.