Jerry Swanson

SPD volunteer programs for young people renamed and refreshed

Jerry Swanson, SPD Public Information Assistant, 509.610.9451

Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at 10:54 a.m.

The Spokane Police Cooperative Education Program (Co-op) which has been in existence since 1988 is now called the Police Cadet Program. The name change reflects a shift in program requirements and structure, however many remnants of the co-op program remain. The Cadet Program is for youth ages 19-24 years old who have a desire to learn about the law enforcement profession through practical experience. Unlike the former Co-op Program, there is no longer a requirement to be enrolled in college to be a Cadet. This change was made to ensure the program wasn’t missing qualified and motivated individuals with a desire to immerse themselves in the law enforcement field. The program is still tailored for students; the schedule is flexible and designed to work around class/work schedules and participants can earn school credit through the Cadet program.

Cadet applicants go through a selection and background process. Once selected, they attend trainings designed to equip them for duties including working community events, assisting at crime scenes, completing police reports, and eventually riding with patrol officers.

SPD’s Explorers Program retains its title but the Explorer age is now 15-18 years old. These high school age youth commit to volunteering 16 hours a month and attend trainings and an Explorer Academy, as well as maintaining a 2.5 GPA. Explorers perform similar duties as Cadets and get more opportunities and responsibilities as their experience grows.

Both programs are under the Boy Scouts of America - Learning for Life Program. The Explorer/Cadet programs present wonderful opportunities for young people to experience firsthand what it’s like to be a police officer and what it takes to serve their community. Many of SPD’s current officers are former Explorer and Co-op members. SPD is currently accepting new applicants for both the Explorer and Cadet programs. One of the main goals of the Spokane Police Department is to engage with the community we serve. There are many ways to engage with the Spokane Police Department. Opportunities include: volunteering as a Reserve Police Officer, Police Cadet, Police Explorer, or Citizen Volunteer.

This video highlights the type of training and experiences that are part of the Explorer/Cadet programs. On this day students from the NEWtech Skills Center in Spokane spent some time at the Police Academy learning about the programs. A handful of them have applied and been accepted as Explorers!

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