Student working with Phoenix Police homicide unit

Published On:
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
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Not many students embrace polygraph tests and background checks, but one ASU undergraduate was thrilled when she was asked to do them for the second time in less than six months.

After her first polygraph and background test in June, Elektra Fike-Data was one of the first two volunteers accepted for ASU’s Volunteers in Police Assistance Program. A new crime analysis position was tailored to fit Fike-Data’s interests, said Assistant Chief of ASU Police Jay Spradling.

“It goes to speak to the types of jobs that we are willing to give to volunteers,” Spradling said. “Not many police departments would put a volunteer in crime analysis, but it’s a matter of finding the right person for the job and we are very lucky to have Elektra.”

A crime analysis program, for which Fike-Data did some initial research, is in the final stages of development and once officers and police chiefs hash out logistical issues, Fike-Data will be one of the main people involved in operating and monitoring it on a day-to-day basis, Spradling said.

Her second polygraph and background check came in October, when she applied for an internship that would award one student the opportunity to work with detectives in the Phoenix Police Cold Case Homicide Unit for the first time in department history.

Up against undergraduate and graduate students from all over the nation, Fike-Data said her chances of being chosen for the position were not great.

“I did not think I would be the one chosen for the position,” she said. “Having just added criminal justice as a second major, and the fact that there were also grad students applying, I wasn’t really expecting anything to come out of it.”

Upon learning last month that she was chosen for the position, Elektra said she was ecstatic. The 21-year-old said she enjoys being treated as part of the staff and while she couldn’t reveal much about her responsibilities, she did say she deals with public records requests and case reviews.

Fike-Data said she didn’t realize the potential benefits when she began volunteering, but admitted the networking and experience she received as a volunteer really aided her in being chosen for the internship.

“I just wanted to get some real life experience in my field and I saw that I could help the community while doing so, but I never thought I would be working at Phoenix Police,” Fike-Data said.

To her advantage, the internship is not just resume based, Fike-Data said.

“They did a lot of investigation, they looked at personality, who you have worked with and what they say about you and really just what drives the sled,” Fike-Data said, adding that Spradling and volunteer coordinator Doris Cornette spoke highly of her, which was invaluable.

Spradling said Fike-Data’s story is a testament to how students can benefit from volunteering, adding that students in any major could benefit as well.

Fike-Data is an outstanding volunteer, he said, and her drive and intelligence is not only the reason she got the internship, but will also allow her to do any job she is interested in.

“We’ll all be working for Elektra in the future,” he said.

Reach the reporter at npmendo@asu.edu