After six months of rigorous physical and tactical training at the Los Angeles Police Academy, Sasha Borenstein ’14 has recently been partnered with an officer in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) to complete the field training required to become a full-time officer. For Borenstein, the accomplishment is putting her one step closer to her long-term goal of becoming a homicide investigator, which requires law enforcement experience.
“This is a tough profession and it takes a lot of hard work, but it’s very doable as long as you give it your all,” says Borenstein, who majored in psychology at the Colleges. “Since middle school I’ve wanted to become a homicide investigator, and because that requires working closely with officers, you need to be able to put yourself in their shoes. The only way to fully do that is to work as a police officer.”
Borenstein explains that her time in the Academy, which she attended from February through August, was split between academic coursework and physical training. In the classroom, she gained strategical knowledge, studying different scenarios like building searches and traffic stops, as well as law, Spanish, and broadcast skills. Borenstein underwent intense physical training in order to pass the required physical exams and endurance tests, including everything from firearm training to self-defense, handcuffing and driving in emergency situations.
“The Academy was an amazing experience. I’ve made some of my best friends in my Academy classes; it’s awesome to be surrounded by people who share the same passion, and who are here because they love what they do,” Borenstein says.
After graduating from the Academy, Borenstein began her field training, working the 12-hour night shift, responding to calls with her partner.
Throughout her training, Borenstein has been able to draw from an internship she completed as an HWS student with the Geneva Police Department, which included attending court, riding with patrol officers, and shadowing a detective. The internship was supervised by Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Sociology James Sutton, whose criminology and social deviance courses left a lasting impact on Borenstein and provided her with the academic backing needed to succeed at the Academy.
“Sasha was a proactive student with a fantastic attitude, and the confidence, critical thinking and communication skills that she developed at HWS will enable her to excel in her new career with the Los Angeles Police Department,” says Sutton. “Sasha’s experience epitomizes what it means to link a liberal arts education to practice, and I have no doubt that she will become a leader in her field.”
While considering attending HWS, Borenstein was put in contact with Dr. Lowell J. Levine ’59, a board-certified forensic ondontologist and the director of operations for the New York State Police Medicolegal Investigations Unit, who has been her mentor ever since. Levine facilitated a rare opportunity for Borenstein to attend the Annual Colonel Henry F. Williams Homicide Seminar, an invitation-only seminar for roughly 200 of the top homicide investigators in the world. The only student in attendance, Borenstein was able to network with world-renowned homicide investigators.
“The seminar gave me an introduction to the homicide world that not many people have, and it made me want to pursue the career even more,” Borenstein recalls.
On campus, Borenstein minored in sociology and social justice studies, and was a decorated four-year member of the William Smith varsity basketball team. In her first year, Borenstein was awarded Liberty League Rookie of the Week twice, and also awarded the Barbara Easton Regan Basketball Coaches Award. In her senior year, she was named a Liberty League performer of the week, received Honorable mention on the Liberty League all-conference team, and was awarded the Betsy Bullock Mitchell ’65 award at the William Smith athletic banquet.