Advice for law enforcement cadets
February 28, 2012
Law enforcement cadets perform a great service to their community. Although they don’t have the same duties as a police officer, they work alongside them and assist them in performing their job.
Becoming a police cadet is a great way to prepare for a job in the police force. People working as law enforcement cadets find out whether they like police work enough to continue on with it as a career path. They also learn valuable skills that will help if they do decide to become law enforcement officers.
Law enforcement cadets also earn points toward admission into the police force, so if they decide to take that route, they have a leg up on the process. But the bottom line is that the work one does as a law enforcement cadet will go on your record with your local force, so you have to do an exemplary job and perform your duties to the best of your ability.
One great bit of advice for law enforcement cadets is to be completely truthful during the application process. If you’ve ever been arrested, even if it didn’t result in a conviction, be honest about it. During the screening process, the department will find out anyway, so there’s no point in lying. The same goes for your school record, which they’ll check up on, too. Many departments now give polygraph tests to cadets and they will ask about your drug experience. Be honest about it. If you have used illegal substances, depending upon how recent it was, it may or may not count against you.
Most rural areas don’t have programs for law enforcement cadets. If your police department doesn’t have a cadet program, check in larger nearby towns or cities to see if they have one. If you’re able to commute to another police department to become a cadet, make sure this is a realistic proposition, as many departments don’t pay cadets and the cost of commuting can add up.
If you’re in school, realistically assess whether you have the time to complete your studies and fulfill the duties required of law enforcement cadets. Don’t bite off more than you can chew when it comes to assessing the demands of both school and working as a police cadet, or you’ll end up doing badly at both.
Be realistic about the duties of law enforcement cadets. You’re not going to be going out on patrol or visiting crime scenes with officers, at least not at first. The work you’ll be assigned can be somewhat boring, such as filing papers, answering phones and washing police cars. Do the best job you can with the tasks you’re assigned as a law enforcement cadet so you’re able to do the exciting stuff later.