Friday, October 13, 2017

FEATURE: Huskies' Linebacker Speaks On NYPD Experience

Taking aerial shots of New York City from the seat of a NYPD (New York Police Department) helicopter is not a common résumé booster most college graduates can boast about. For senior linebacker Wesley Splain (Stafford, Va./Brooke Point) of the Bloomsburg University football team, that is just one of many experiences he gained from his internship with the NYPD over the summer.

Splain's love for mass communications started in high school when he had the opportunity to work with a local television network covering high school sporting events. When Splain was not on the field recording tackles, he was recording video for the broadcast.

"We did game shows and football games. Sometimes I wasn't able to help because I was playing, but I was able to help cover a couple state championship games," explained Splain.

It was his father's position with the counter-terrorism bureau after serving in the Air Force for 20 years that afforded Splain the opportunity to work directly with the NYPD. During his time with the NYPD, he was able to help with a Make-A-Wish project and design a logo for COBRA (Chemical Ordinance, Biological, and Radiological Awareness) as well as many other projects.

The design made by Splain for COBRA is still being used today, and is something he is very proud of. He jokingly stated, "if they ever make a coin, I better get the first one." However, one of his favorite projects while working with the department came when a young man fighting cancer visited for the day. Sebastian Lattuga was battling liver cancer when NYPD discovered his wish was to be a police officer for the day. On his birthday, his wish was granted. (LOGO)

"Make-A-Wish foundation came to the counter-terrorism unit and told us they wanted to do a video. We took him on a boat tour of New York City, and then he was able to go into Commissioner James O'Neal's office, which barely anyone can go into," said Splain.

When Splain was not filming news clips and working with graphics, he was also given the opportunity to look into what life was like for a NYPD officer. During the internship, he was able to visit different units throughout the department.

"I was able to visit the K-9 Unit, the Harbor division, I actually got to go up in a chopper and do an aviation tour and take pictures for a security piece with Oculus," said Splain. "I visited the tactics and weapons division and was able to try out their training."

Respect, was a word Splain brought up often when discussing his time with the NYPD. Everything about his experience was positive, except the subway rides. Splain remembered one experience in particular that stood out from the rest.

"My subway ride was an hour and a half. The one time there was a trash fire at one of the stops and I didn't get to work until 11 o'clock that day."

Throughout the process, the student-athlete was able to gain experience in his field as well as gain a new respect for the men and women in blue. During his time there, he helped cover the funeral of fallen officer Miosotis Familia. "That was a huge experience for me; it wasn't just NYPD officers - cops from all over came. Police officers do a lot and people don't realize how much pressure cops are put in at times."

His experience with the NYPD is one that Splain values and could see himself continuing in the future. After his internship, the NYPD offered to open up a position specifically for Splain to take over after graduation. Splain is thrilled by the offer and opportunity, however in the meantime he is working on starting up his own sports blog called "Splainin' Sports". Sports blogging might not be as exhilarating as catching images of the New York skyline from a helicopter, but no matter what the senior decides on, he is grateful for his experience working hands on with the NYPD.

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