“Simpson definitely helped prepare me, with all the different classes on ethnic and societal problems,” he says.
Tafta describes the internship process as rigorous, including various background tests. (For the record, the librarians at Dunn forgave his impromptu celebration.) He believes his desire to work and learn in the diverse environment of a large metropolitan area might have helped him get chosen.
“It’s not small-town Iowa,” he says. “It’s not Ottumwa or Indianola. It’s not even Des Moines or one of the bigger cities in Iowa. It’s definitely a metro area. I want that. I want a bigger city where there’s a little more action.”
Tafta says he’s also interested in getting a firsthand look at how the criminal justice system deals with people of various backgrounds and socio-economic levels. But with that comes increased risks, and he knows that.
“There’s another level of violence that you don’t see here,” he says. “It’s definitely going to open my eyes about that aspect.”
And what does his mother, Lori, think?
“I think it’s going to be hard for her, but she knows I’m doing something where I’m going to have a great time and learn a lot. She’s nervous, but she’s excited for me, too.”
Tafta says he will live with an uncle in a suburb north of Miami. While the police department has promised Tafta that he will have the chance to patrol the streets with many different units, it won’t all be work. He also plans to explore South Beach.
“How many kids get to say they have the chance to live in Miami for the summer?” he asks.
If Tafta gets his wish, more Simpson students will follow him. He hopes his experience this summer will open a path for future criminal justice students.