Young people ages 14-20 who join the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Cadet program gain a two-fold benefit from their participation–they learn the ins and outs of law enforcement and have the opportunity to take fun and educational trips to various recreational outlets.

The Cadet program, which has been in effect since 1962 serving the Los Angeles community, stresses academic excellence, discipline, and leadership with the young people it advises, and its mission is to help develop solid, well-rounded citizens.

Los Angeles Assistant Police Chief Earl Paysinger said public schools in the city work in partnership with the LAPD Cadet program recruiting youngsters from throughout the Southland. Once selected, a cadet is expected to maintain standards. Requirements to participate include:
1) Have a grade point average of “C” or higher
2) Have no record of serious arrests or convictions
3) Maintain good moral character
4) To apply, present a written recommendation from a teacher, religious leader, or other responsible, non-related adult and obtain a medical examination (to qualify for insurance)
6) Attend and graduate from the Cadet Academy
7) Demonstrate a willingness to serve and participate in Cadet activities

The LAPD Cadet program is a part of the Youth Programs Unit of the LAPD’s Office of Operations, which coordinates a 112-hour cadet recruit academy. Young people participate in the Cadet program for 14 consecutive weeks, eight hours each Saturday. This academy training is composed of academics, physical training, and military drill instruction provided by LAPD officers.

Each week, recruits also participate in physical training that includes running, calisthenics, and obstacle courses. Cadets are given character education based on the Josephson Institute for Ethics curriculum, “Character Counts.” They also receive public speaking training from certified instructors from Toastmasters International. In addition, the recruits are given classes in criminal law, military drills, and live demonstrations from S.W.A.T., bomb squad, and counter terrorism experts.

Satisfactory scores on two written and two physical qualification examinations must be achieved before the Cadet recruits are entitled to wear the Law Enforcement Cadet uniform and receive certificates confirming completion of training. They are also issued a Cadet identification card. After completing their training, cadets will graduate on the field at Elysian Park Academy, the site of many LAPD graduations.

“As a result of the training and direction they receive, many of the young police cadets have gone on to choose law enforcement as a career,” said Assistant Police Chief Paysinger. Also according to LAPD Senior Management Analyst Natalie Torres-Soriano, many former cadets are now student workers while attending college, office workers, dispatchers, and police officers. “Others have chosen to enter the Armed Forces,” Torres-Soriano said, “and are now serving around the world as military police officers.