The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: MATTHEW FRATES '22

Matthew Frates '22

Matthew Frates '22 interned with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) during the summer of 2020.

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Matthew Frates '22 interned at Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) during the 2020 summer term. The following is an excerpt from his internship report. 

My internship over the summer of 2020 was with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). HSI is the investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, and is responsible for a wide array of federal law enforcement activities. This includes but is not limited to: financial crime, human trafficking, narcotics smuggling, cybercrimes, international gang activity, and export enforcement. I was placed in the RAC (resident agent in charge) office in Burlington, Vermont, which is the Vermont satellite office of the Boston, MA HSI main office. The RAC office that I worked in housed five HSI Special Agents, and a number of Homeland Security and outside agency support staff. The office also housed the Vermont State Internet Crimes against Children Task Force (ICAC), which was comprised of members of HSI and the Vermont State Police (VSP) cybercrimes unit. This included VSP detectives, digital forensic investigators, cybercrime experts, and a state’s attorney. This unit focused on digital child exploitation and online child pornography within the state of Vermont.

Within my internship, I was tasked with assisting the HSI Special Agents with their various investigations. I assisted on multiple cases, and worked with most of the Agents directly. I also had responsibility for analyzing financial suspicious activity reports (SARs) and reporting suspected criminal activity to my supervisor. During my internship, most time was spent assisting several Special Agents with a counter-narcotics case within the Burlington, Vermont area. Both in the office and remotely from home, I assisted the agents in data analytics, case organization, and technical surveillance/monitoring. I was tasked with monitoring collected GPS data from the case, and reporting to the Agents with an intelligence analysis based on the data. I also rode with the Agents on many occasions in the northern Vermont area, conducting surveillance operations, and narcotics-purchases. During these experiences, I interacted with and assisted local police detectives, as well as members of the Vermont State Police counter-narcotics interdiction unit.

On a separate case in the office, I accompanied agents from multiple federal agencies on a search warrant on suspicion of illegal firearms. During this event, I assisted in evidence collection/photography, as well as documentation and preparation. I also assisted my supervisor, the resident agent in charge, in auditing the vehicle medical kits—offering advice from my military medic/EMT experiences on how the office could improve their medical readiness and training. At this time, I am still currently scheduled to teach a Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) course at the office to the Special Agents.

By working directly in federal law enforcement, and working daily alongside Special Agents, I gained a valuable insight into the profession. I had a large interest in federal law enforcement prior to this internship, but due to my experience at HSI, I now know without a doubt that it is what I want to pursue. I now also have real world legal and government experience that I can apply to my academic pursuits as a government major at Dartmouth.

I am extremely grateful for the Rockefeller Center for providing me with the support and funding necessary to complete this internship. I look forward to sharing my experiences and helping future students gain interest in this career field as well as in internships like mine.

The Rockefeller Internships Program has funding for Dartmouth undergraduate students to help defray the cost of living expenses associated with a full-time, unpaid, leave-term internships in the fields of public policy, public affairs, and social entrepreneurship.

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