UALR student lands Secret Service internship

Micah Parker

When Micah Parker started at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, he dreamed of going into state government.

After a few semesters of criminal justice courses and two internships with local police, Parker is now pursuing a career in law enforcement.

He took a major step in achieving that goal by earning his “dream internship” of working with the United States Secret Service.

“Ideally, I would like to go into federal law enforcement because I have never been farther west than Oklahoma,” said Parker, a junior from Sheridan, Arkansas, majoring in criminal justice and minoring in information technology. “I would like to travel and see the world, and also affect the world in a positive way.”

As an intern with Arkansas’s only Secret Service office in downtown Little Rock, Parker primarily sorts through evidence for counterfeit money cases and looks for counterfeit bills.

“I was thinking I would just answer phones, but they have me sorting through counterfeit notes,” he said.

Not everyone knows that the Secret Service has a dual mission. The agency was established in 1865 as a bureau of the Treasury Department to suppress the widespread counterfeiting of U.S. currency.

After President William McKinley’s assassination in 1901, the agency was tasked with protecting the president, vice president, their immediate families, foreign heads of states, and others.

During his sophomore year, Parker got his first taste of law enforcement work by interning with the UALR Police Department, where he went on ride-alongs with police officers and assisted detectives with putting together case reports.

In the fall 2015 semester, he interned with the Little Rock Police Department, where he rotated between different divisions every two weeks.

His rotations covered the crime scene specialist unit, the northwest, southwest, and downtown patrol divisions, the 911 call center, the 311 call center, and the downtown station, where police personnel pull documents for people appearing in court.

“This internship was a lot of fun and very eye opening,” Parker said. “When you imagine a police department, all you imagine are the patrols. You don’t see all the other work that goes on behind the scenes.”

In addition to his internships, Parker works as a residential assistant, has served as president and sophomore ambassador of the Chancellor’s Leadership Corps and chief justice of the Student Government Association, and is a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. 

In order to work for the Secret Service, an agent conducts a background investigation to determine if the person in question is eligible for top secret security clearance.

Having a U.S. Secret Service agent come to the dormitory to talk to the neighbors and the boss might seem like an unusual experience to most college students, but Parker found it somewhat humorous.

“The agent traveled around to my previous employers and family members and asked about me. She even asked my neighbors about what they have seen me do, which was a little funny,” Parker said. “It was a long, hard process, but I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders when it was finished.”

Brian Marr, special agent in charge at the Secret Service, said that the agency is looking for interns who have diverse attributes who can also hold multiple responsibilities.

“It’s a competitive process,” Marr said. “We are looking for someone who is doing well in school, has an interest in federal law enforcement, and is an outgoing individual.”

“Our agents investigate a wide variety of federal violations regarding our investigative mission, as well as those also associated with our unique and high profile protective responsibilities. We, the Secret Service, want someone who can investigate a criminal violation today, and then stand next to a president or foreign dignitary the next day,” Marr said.

Parker plans to continue interning with the Secret Service until he has completed his education and then seek full-time employment with the agency. After he graduates from UALR in May 2017, Parker plans to pursue a master’s degree in criminal justice through UALR.

Any student who is interested in interning with the Secret Service can visit www.secretservice.gov or call 501.324.6241 for job opportunities.

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