Downtown Lititz | Faces of Lititz

From Berlin to Lititz

Lititz Borough Police Department Welcomes an Intern from Berlin, Germany

It all comes down to community, whether you’re policing in a small town like Lititz or a bustling city like Berlin. That was one of the takeaways from the Lititz Borough Police Department’s experience welcoming Niklas Gartmann, an officer-in-training from Berlin, Germany.

“It’s unique to see how small our world is, but also to see how the same we are,” said Sergeant Stephen Detz. “We might use a few different words, but policing is policing everywhere, whether it’s a police department of 17,000 officers like Berlin or a small town like Lititz.” 

So how did Niklas find his way to our small town?

An intern from Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin (Berlin School of Economics and Law), Niklas was hired by the Berlin Police Department. Their police academy is three years in length with the officer receiving a college degree at the conclusion of their training. In his last semester of school, Niklas’ final requirement was to participate in an internship and, lucky for us, he decided to come to the United States. While Niklas was originally scheduled to intern with the San Antonio Police Department in Texas, they had to cancel about a month before his internship was set to begin, leaving him scrambling for another opportunity.

Through professional networks, a law enforcement instructor from Berlin reached out to a group of peer instructors, including an officer from the Lititz Borough Police Department. After internal considerations, it was decided that bringing Niklas to Lititz would be a positive learning experience for all involved.

Niklas interned with the LBPD from February 21st to March 7th. During his time here, Niklas was exposed to various activities and duties of the LBPD and policing in general, including participating in the Fire & Ice Festival as part of the LBPD – we loved meeting him our Fire & Ice Maker’s Market! He was also assigned to various divisions and duties, including Patrol, Criminal Investigation, K9, and the Special Emergency Response Team. He attended training with Officer Burke and K9 Nicha, as well as firearms training and Crisis Negotiator training with Detective Savage and the Lancaster County Special Emergency Response Team. Niklas was able to witness the judicial system from start to finish by seeing the State Capitol where bills can become law, Magisterial District Courts, PA Common Pleas Court, District Attorney’s Office, County Prison, and County Youth Intervention Center. He even sampled pretzels from Julius Sturgis and said they reminded him of Germany!

When we reached out to Niklas, now back home in Berlin, to ask about his experience, he warmly responded, “I really enjoyed my time in Lititz. I was very overwhelmed by the hospitality of the Lititz police department. Steph Detz, in particular, has put in a lot of time and effort to make this an exciting internship for me. But of course the other police officers were also very friendly and explained and showed me many things. My favorite spot in town is the Main Street at night, with the lights and lanterns it just looks very beautiful!”

At first glance, there seems to be a lot separating Berlin and Lititz, including over 4,000 miles, a different language, and a drastically different community size, but with all those differences one important thing stays the same – the focus on community. As Sergeant Jared Hahn noted, “While we are not nearly the size of San Antonio PD, nor do we experience the volume of calls they do, we were still able to show Niklas first-hand the value of community-oriented policing and we appreciate the time he spent with us.”

A good experience all around, indeed.  

Photographs are by Amy Spangler


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