Los Angeles Police Department Cadet Program

The Los Angeles Police Department Cadet Program, known informally as the LAPD Cadets, is a cadet program run and sponsored by the Los Angeles Police Department for youth aged 13 to 17.[1] The cadet program is similar in nature to the police explorer programs that are present in many police departments through the Learning for Life program.

An LAPD cadet conducting a handcuffing drill

Cadets volunteer in several different ways for the police department, including taking part in ride alongs, crowd control, charity assistance, working in stations, and other tasks.[2] The cadet program has posts at all of the LAPD's 21 regional divisions, South and Central Traffic divisions, LAPD Headquarters, and a post in partnership with the YMCA. The University of Southern California and Los Angeles Airport Police both host affiliated cadet posts as well, and as of 2014 there were 5,000 cadets.[2][3]


The LAPD program was formerly associated with Learning for Life, but it was withdrawn from the program and reorganized as an independent organization in 2007 after the police commission broke off their partnership with the Boy Scouts of America over their policy of barring gays, atheists and agnostics from being troop leaders.[4][5]

The newer cadet program shifted focus from the old explorer program, which focused primarily on preparing cadets for a career in law enforcement, to a broader program that is designed to give cadets a solid foundation in life and to help them prepare for whatever careers they choose by offering things like tutoring and college scholarships to different cadets in need of assistance.[2] The cadets complete courses not only on law enforcement but also on citizenship, leadership, financial literacy and other different skill sets.[2]


In order to join the cadet program a person must be between the ages of 13 and 17, maintain a 2.0 grade point average, have no serious criminal record, obtain a medical examination, and complete the cadet academy.[1]

Organization and StructureEdit

Each Cadet Post is run by two Youth Services Officers, who are sworn police officers. At each post, a staff of senior cadets mentors and teaches the more junior cadets. While cadets have, and can promote to, different ranks, cadet rank is designed to provide mentorship and leadership, and cannot issue orders or impose punishment.[6][7]

Ranks Insignia Notes
Recruit Cadet No Insignia While in the Cadet Academy
Cadet I No insignia Immediately following graduation

from the Cadet Academy

Cadet II No insignia Automatic promotion to Cadet II

following completion of 3 months'


Staff Ranks †
Cadet III At least six months as a Cadet-II to

be eligible.

Cadet Sergeant At least one year as a Cadet-II and/or

Cadet-III to be eligible.

Cadet Lieutenant At least one year as a Cadet-III and/or

Cadet Sergeant to be eligible.

Cadet Captain At least six months in the ranks of Cadet

Sergeant and/or Cadet Lieutenant

Cadet Commander Silver shoulder cord worn

on the left shoulder; At least six months

as a Cadet Lieutenant and/or Cadet


Cadet Chief Gold shoulder cord worn

on the left shoulder; At least six months as

a Cadet Captain or Cadet Commander

† All ranks from Cadet-III to Cadet Chief require both a written exam and an oral interview.
Rank insignia for Cadet-III and Cadet Sergeant is worn on both sleeves as embroidered

chevrons. Rank insignia for Cadet Lieutenant to Cadet Chief is worn as metal, pin-on insignia

on the collar.


Recruits must attend the Cadet Leadership Academy, which lasts for fifteen consecutive Saturdays. Recruits learn basic law enforcement skills through classroom learning, physical training, and drill.[8] Classes taught at the academy include criminal law, public speaking, conflict resolution, and demonstrations by SWAT, K-9, and Bomb Squad units.[9]


Cadets attend meetings once a week for additional training and other law enforcement-related activities.[9] In addition to meeting weekly, cadets volunteer to assist law enforcement officers in coordinating and securing special activities, or take part in additional training opportunities, including:[10]

An LAPD officer signs up cadets wanting to compete in a dance contest during the annual Los Angeles Greek Fest in 2013.


In June 2017, three cadets were arrested after they led police in a car chase using stolen department vehicles, and crashed two of them during the pursuit.[11] Investigators later discovered a ring of cadets had been stealing and using department vehicles and other equipment for at least two months prior to their discovery; ultimately, seven cadets were arrested.[12] During the investigation into the thefts, investigators discovered evidence of a sexual relationship between a fifteen year old female cadet, who was one of the cadets arrested for the theft of department property, and a thirty-one year old police officer, who was subsequently arrested and charged with sexual assault.[13] Following the investigation, the sexual assault victim announced her intention to file a suit against the city for negligence.[14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Eligibility". LAPD Cadets Community Youth Program. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d Lopez, Steve (5 July 2014). "LAPD cadet program aims to give teens, communities a brighter future". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Cadet Posts | LAPD Cadets". www.lapdcadets.com. Retrieved 2020-09-14.
  4. ^ Orlov, Rick (7 December 2009). "Scout-free LAPD Explorer program in the works". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  5. ^ "LAPD's Explorers program to sever ties with Boy Scouts". KPCC. December 22, 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  6. ^ "FAQs | LAPD Cadets". www.lapdcadets.com. Retrieved 2020-09-14.
  7. ^ http://lapd-assets.lapdonline.org/assets/pdf/2017_Youth_Programs_manual.pdf, Los Angeles Police Department Youth Programs Manual. Accessed 14 September 2020.
  8. ^ "Academy". LAPD Cadets Community Youth Program. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  9. ^ a b "FAQS". LAPD Cadets Community Youth Program. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  10. ^ "Benefits". LAPD Cadets Community Youth Program. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  11. ^ Nieves, Rosalina (17 June 2017). "LAPD cadets arrested after stealing patrol cars, police say". CNN. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  12. ^ Queally, James; Mather, Kate (7 December 2017). "LAPD cadet scandal: Joyrides in cruisers went on for weeks before anyone caught on". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  13. ^ Winton, Richard; Queally, James (26 October 2017). "Sex, joy rides and car chases: Scandal in LAPD youth cadet program sparks alarm and calls for reform". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  14. ^ Winton, Richard; Queally, James (26 October 2017). "Teenager in LAPD cadet scandal plans to file claim over alleged sex abuse". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 31 December 2017.

External linksEdit