SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield Police hope their cadet program will motivate more people to pursue careers in law enforcement.
“I’m not going to sugar coat it. It’s a dangerous profession and a lot of people are concerned by it,” said Captain Rupert Daniel of the Springfield Police Department.
Fewer people are joining police departments nationwide. A recent U.S. Justice Department survey found there are about 700,000 full-time police officers in the U.S; 23,000 fewer than 2013.
The Springfield Police Department is trying to get more young people interested in their cadet program.
“Every community in Springfield I’ve been in, I know there are good youngsters out there. They just need someone to nudge them towards police work, so they go back and bring the community the policing they deserve,” said Daniel.
To become a cadet, an applicant must be between 17 and a half and 23 years old, as well as pass an exam. Cadets are paid about $12 an hour while receiving specialized training.
Springfield Police Department’s cadet program provides on-the-job training, which will help prepare individuals for a career in law enforcement and the police academy. Many of their cadets have gone on to become Springfield police officers.
Twenty-two-year-old Nate Jurkowski has been a cadet for almost two years, “The officers we work with, they really do a good job of teaching us the do’s and don’ts and safety tips now. You take the whole experience of the academy but taking this as a precursor to that is really helpful.”
Jurkowski told 22News he’s learned a lot of specialized skills, how police investigate stolen cars and missing person reports.
Springfield police will host an open house for their cadet program at the police academy on East Street on May 22.