For the summer break, the cadets will get an up close view of police work in Gila River. “The cadet program is an opportunity for young men and women to get to know law enforcement on a more personal level,” said Ed Alameda, Gila River Police Department Acting Chief.
The seven cadets were admittedly nervous before their introduction, but the edge seemed to wear off after praise and support poured in from council representatives.
“Continue down the right path,” said Myron Schurz, District 3 Representative.
“Encourage your friends and your peers,” said Albert Pablo, District 6 Representative.
“It was a good experience coming here today and talking in front of [Community Council],” said Cadet Sgt. Bianca Corona, 16, District 5.
The seven youths will spend most of their time with Officer Ester Poolaw and Officer Cody Pablo. “Hopefully we can teach them one or two things that will set them up for success,” Pablo said.
The participants are unique in their backgrounds and in their future goals. Some of the cadets eventually want to join the armed forces while others have aspirations in the medical field. The common attribute among them seems to be placing a high priority on their long-term goals. “It shows a lot about them individually,” Pablo said.
“I joined the police cadet program because I want to kick-start my career in law enforcement, and after high school I plan to become a United States marine,” said Cadet Capt. Julian Murgia, District 6, a senior at Betty H. Fairfax High School. “I joined the cadet program because I want a better understanding on what police do in the patrol unit and how they work,” said Cadet Sgt. Shane Soza, 15, District 6.
No one will accuse these teenagers of inactivity this summer. According to Poolaw, the cadets will get a thorough examination of law enforcement. They will observe and work with officers at the police station and in the field. For instance, Cadet Sergeant Corona has her eye on riding with officers. “I’m looking forward to the ride-a-longs,” she said.
The ride-a-longs will be a very hands- on portion of the program where the cadets go on calls with officers in a police vehicle. “Officers will give them pointers on how to handle different situations,” said Pablo. The cadets will take many tours and meet with judges, prosecutors, dispatchers and other individuals in law enforcement-related fields.
Specifically the cadets will learn police policy and procedure, firearm safety and how to fill out reports and citations. They will work with the patrol division, ranger division and with criminal investigations. The cadets will be on hand for K9 demonstrations and will be certified in first aid and CPR. This year, the cadets will also take lessons on language and culture.
For the youth who might be interested in a career in law enforcement, Cadet Sergeant has a special message. “Why don’t you come over and be in the cadet program? It’s pretty fun.”
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