By Jeff Baker, Program Administrator, BWC Special Investigations Department
In recognition of International Fraud Awareness Week 2017, we are highlighting careers in criminal investigations, especially those that commence with the study of criminology, criminal justice, law enforcement, digital forensics or data analytics.
History: BWC’s Special Investigations Department (SID) created its college relations program in 1995 to promote the study and practice of criminology, criminal justice, law enforcement and public administration. On college and university campuses throughout Ohio (and beyond), SID staff members exchange insights with students, faculty and staff members on how to combat crime.
Since the program began 20 years ago, SID has recruited, selected and trained more than 300 paid interns and unpaid externs. Many have gone on to become law enforcement officers, criminal investigators, special agents, digital forensic analysts, assistant special agents in charge and special agents in charge. We currently employ in full time positions, thirteen graduates from our SID college internship program.
On Campus: BWC representatives travel to colleges and universities to meet with candidates. For example, on Nov. 14, BWC was represented at Bowling Green State University by SID Special Agent in Charge Craig Matthews and BWC Human Capital Management Analyst Megan Lentz.
They participated in a job fair specifically targeted toward criminal justice majors. Matthews described the internship program in the special investigations department at the Toledo service office and Lentz explained the application process.
Panel Discussion: For two hours on Nov. 15, two investigative professionals, Taylor Scarberry and Paul Balzer, participated in our agency’s second panel event where five current permanent employees who started out at BWC as interns discussed their experiences with our current interns. Moderated by Megan Lentz, these successful professionals painted a picture of what it is like to permanently come on board with our agency.
The former SID interns described their success and career paths working in specialized units, including the intelligence and special investigations units (SIUs), as well the health care provider team and regional claimant SIU.
They described their many important responsibilities as a college intern with SID. They also mentioned what they did not do, such as getting coffee or food for their co-workers, running any errand, or any other trivial activity.
Panelist Taylor Scarberry: Taylor started his career with BWC in November 2012 as an exemplary college intern with the Columbus SIU. On August 22, 2016, he commenced his permanent employment with BWC as a Criminal Investigator with the Southeast Regional Claimant SIU, assigned to the Cambridge service office. He reports to special agent in charge Scott Lape, a former SID college intern.
During today’s panel discussion, Taylor offered the following knowledge, understanding and wisdom:
“Following my experience as a college intern with the Special Investigations Department and obtaining my Bachelor’s degree in Criminology from The Ohio State University, it was important to me to find a career in criminal justice. I discovered quickly during my internship that criminal justice was something I was passionate about and saw myself establishing a career in. BWC provided me that opportunity and the team atmosphere within the SID is something I enjoy being a part of every day.”
Panelist Paul Balzer: Paul started his career with BWC in 2010 while a student at The Ohio State University. Following his internship, he joined BWC full-time as a criminal investigator with health care provider team (HCPT) in December 2011. On October 7, 2012, Paul was promoted to special agent with the HCPT. On Nov. 28, 2016, he was promoted to fraud analyst with the intelligence unit, a team supervised by a former SID college intern, special agent in charge Eric Brown.
As an experienced panelist who has already earned multiple promotions, Paul offered the following recollections and insights:
“I had no idea what this agency did or that it even existed. But the synopsis I read about the internship combined all three things I had wanted to do – work in health care, computer science and criminology. In my current position, I want to continue to make an impact. There are a lot of challenges in the criminal justice system, but we can still make an impact and improve the lives of others. I hope we continue to use critical resources in the most efficient manner possible to stop fraud, because fraud just drives up costs for the entire system.”
Reasons for Ongoing Success: The SID college relations program has been successful in hiring interns with a variety of backgrounds, majors and career goals who quickly become vital assets to BWC’s efforts to fight workers’ compensation fraud. We solicit and heed feedback from our interns to continually improve our program.
The Future: If you know of any students that would be a great fit in our program, please encourage them to submit an application via our Future Opportunities posting. We have an intern position that we are looking to fill right now and we are using the Future Opportunities posting to select our applications. Additionally, we have the specific intern positions posted: