LAPD cadet program offers leadership opportunities

By Mariyah Ramirez

Here I was at 5:20 p.m. at Pacoima City Hall for another meeting with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) cadets.The meeting started at 5:30 p.m., but you’re considered late if you get there on time. We went through roll call and started drilling.

The best group at marching wouldn’t have to PT (physical training) as much as the rest of the cadets, so we always gave our best effort. My group didn’t end up winning, which meant we had a lot of exercise that evening. I was actually looking forward to working out because each cadet got the chance to roll the exercise dice which told you what to do and for how many reps.

The Cadet Program strives to teach young men and women to build positive relationships with police. It also provides the opportunity for youth to provide community service alongside law enforcement. The program provides character training, public speaking, and academic instruction that prepare young people for their future.

“The program has impacted me by encouraging me to get out of my shell. After the academy, I felt much more comfortable with myself and more confident. The cadet program introduced me to new experiences that helped me interact with others through volunteering,” Cadet Camile Jacobe from Monroe High School said.

In order to join the cadet program, you have to be between the age of 13 and 17, have no records of arrests or convictions, and an average of at least a 2.0 GPA.

Before becoming a cadet, applicants must go through a 15 week academy as a recruit cadet. The academy meets every Saturday morning from 6:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

After graduating the academy you are rewarded with a beautiful and motivational ceremony. 

As well as the experience obtained from being in the program, such as working alongside law enforcement, being a cadet also provides you with many amazing opportunities such as trips to Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland.

Besides the fun trips, cadets have details where they help out our community during events and parades. 

“The cadet program allows me to help out my community in many ways. It also helped me to not be as shy as I used to be, especially with public speaking,” Cadet Diana Rodriquez from John H. Francis Polytechnic High School said.

The LAPD Cadet Program, formerly known as the “Explorer Program” was established in 2010. The purpose of the program is to instill leadership, discipline, academic excellence, and life-skills in all of the cadets. It seeks to empower the youth to maximize their personal, academic, and life potential.

“The cadet program taught me how to be a leader and how to branch myself out there to meet other people. This program gave me some of my closest friends, and I will forever remember all the great memories with the people around me, ” Cadet Christian Mendoza from Alliance High School said.