Campus cadets gain experience

The University of Indianapolis Criminal Justice Department offers an opportunity for sophomore criminal justice majors interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement. 

Students can apply for a position as a cadet on the UIndy campus police force. During this time, the students train like any Indiana police officer,  while attending classes and earning their degree.

Lt. Brandon Pate of the University Police Department said the cadet program is a gateway to law enforcement careers, a field in which there has been a 70 percent reduction in qualified applicants in the last decade. 

“The process starts their sophomore year, where we field and interview applicants for our program,”  Pate said. “We take on three cadets every semester, and because of this, they get very detailed, one-on-one supervision.”

After completing a pre-basic training over the summer, which consists of a 40-hour week, cadets admitted into the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy program undergo another four 40-hour-a-week training sessions to prepare for their ILEA exam.  

According to Pate, these 200 hours of training as a cadet before interacting with students on campus helps to ensure that UIndy cadets are up to par with any other Indiana officer.

“The first week, which we call week one, is the ILEA pre-basic training that is set by the state of Indiana,” Pate said. “This covers ethics, criminal justice, emergency situations, victim assistance, traffic stops, multicultural awareness, practicals and various scenarios that provide our officers with the right mentality and skills to do the job.”

Photo by Tony Reeves The University Police Department vehicles are parked on and around UIndy campus. Cadets are not issued squad vehicles like UIndy officers are, however they do ride in them.

This first tier of cadet training is held directly after Spring Term. The next four weeks of training can count towards the cadets’ college credit and earn them up to 12 credit hours. 

Once students undergo training, they can practice  as an officer would on campus in the form of campus security. 

This entails room clearing in an emergency situation, walkthroughs for all campus buildings and ride-alongs with sworn officers.

“The cadets we have on campus act as a multiplier for our officers’ eyes and ears,” Pate said. “They free up more of our officers so that they are able to focus on keeping crime outside of  UIndy’s campus.”

The cadets increase overall campus security because of the help they provide to campus officers, according to Pate. Pate said that the cadet program does not try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to training their cadets. 

The supervising officers abide by all ILEA code and curriculum when training officers and cadets. The cadets are able to work closely with state-certified trainers so that the cadets receive qualified training in the most beneficial way to UIndy.

“I learned that this is something that I really want to do.”

Junior criminal justice major Sukhwmanpreet Singh described the summer cadet academy as a gateway for the rest of his life. Singh said that the summer training was a time when he was able to learn everything he would need to know to decide if he was truly ready for a career in law enforcement.

Singh came to the United States from India when he was 10 years old. Already knowing Hindi, Punjabi, Gudrabi and English, he said that the experience allowed him to bring his own culture to the table as an asset for understanding the multiculturalism at UIndy.

“During training, we worked a lot on community policing, room clearing, knowing the campus and knowing what to do in a regular policing situation,” Singh said. “This summer is one of the best experiences I’ve had. I learned a lot. I learned that this is something that I really want to do, but that it is only the first phase of my training … there is quite a bit more to come.” 

Singh said that for any student who may be interested in a career in law enforcement, making connections is important such as talking to the police chief and getting acquainted with professors who may help make those connections.

Singh and Pate both said they are excited to get back on campus as the summer ends and work with the student body, faculty and staff. Pate said that the improvement and development of the cadets over the summer has been immense and instills the confidence and trust needed for a police force to work as a team throughout the academic year.