The Los Angeles Police Department will graduate the largest cadet class in the program’s history during a ceremony taking place at the University of Southern California’s Galen Center today.
Police Chief Charlie Beck and USC President C. L. Max Nikias will be in attendance as 730 young people become cadets under the LAPD Cadet Leadership Program, which offers leadership, law enforcement, conflict resolution, physical fitness, life skills and other types of lessons to youth aged 13-20.
The number of cadets has shot up since 2007, from 457 members to 6,000 active youth participants today, LAPD officials said.
There are now cadet posts at all 21 police stations, as well as with the SWAT team, communications and traffic divisions, and airport police force, according to LAPD officials.
USC officials this week announced the school will donate $100,000 each year to the cadet program, with no end date specified.
Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger said the LAPD is “deeply grateful” for USC’s annual commitment, which will help the department “hold to our pledge of allowing cadets to participate and learn free-of-charge.”
The more than 50-year-old program has undergone a “seismic growth” in recent years, Paysinger said, and as a result, “the need for enhanced monetary support to fuel this crusade has never been any greater.”
Paysinger said the program’s “primary objective” is not to “cultivate just police officers,” but to give young people tools “to be whoever they want to be and whatever they choose to be in life.”