2019 Leonard D. Schaeffer Fellow Reflection: Matthew Slagely

My internship with the Virginia State Police’s Criminal Intelligence Division/Virginia Fusion Center was an excellent experience in criminal intelligence analysis. I primarily worked with the Internship Coordinator, Lead Analyst Thomas Kohlbeck, on an Unidentified Remains/Cold Case Investigation. This consisted of using law enforcement databases in order to rule out possible matches to the unidentified remains. This project, although simple on the surface, was extremely helpful for the second half of my internship experience. I became extremely proficient with the various databases, allowing me to dig very deeply in order to find the information we needed. During this period, I also travelled with the Unsolved Violent Crimes team to various places around Virginia for case meetings dealing with a missing person and the unidentified remains investigation. These were excellent opportunities for networking and experiencing how investigations work. The meeting for the missing persons case was particularly memorable because they actively asked for my input on what steps to take. I had not expected to be given an opportunity to share my thoughts during the meeting, but afterwards Thomas Kohlbeck told me he was proud of how I contributed to the discussion.

id="docs-internal-guid-02543d51-7fff-d1cb-3449-1c5c5efeaab6">For the last third of my internship, I transitioned mainly to editing, writing, and researching for intelligence products as well as doing active case support, all under the supervision of Lead Intelligence Analyst Steve Dermer. Here, I was able to directly apply my database skills for various case types, such as active homicide, robbery, email compromise, and drug trafficking investigations. During this period, I was met with my greatest challenge and proudest moment, as I was tasked with being the primary author on an intelligence highlight. Having never written, only edited, intelligence writings up to this point, this was a new challenge. I am very proud of how the final product turned out, especially because I was able to incorporate feedback from my draft versions. I learned quite a bit about intelligence writing in a short period of time, but it will be very helpful when applying for analyst positions in the future. 

Overall, I gained more out of the internship than I had initially expected. The Lead Analysts I worked with were very focused on making sure I truly developed as an analyst. I learned how to use four databases and two intelligence tools very quickly, some of which are also utilized by Federal Law Enforcement agencies. I obtained two professional certifications, as well as gaining knowledge on all aspects of both intelligence and investigatory analysis. The mentor aspect of the Fellowship has proven extremely helpful in networking within Federal Law Enforcement, as I have had opportunities to speak with and learn from a handful of people in the field. Most importantly though, this internship and Fellowship certainly solidified that I want to pursue criminal intelligence as a career. I am extremely grateful for my experience with the VSP and highly recommend this internship for anyone considering a career in intelligence analysis.