UC Davis students participate in the UC Davis Cadet Academy
The UC Davis Cadet Academy provides an opportunity for graduating seniors to learn more about law enforcement, forensics, criminology and more.
Each year, the academy receives about 30 applicants, with around 25 cadets staying on throughout the program.
“These are students that are interested in law enforcement, whether they want to work in law enforcement or [whether they] want to know what law enforcement is about,” said UC Davis police officer Ray Holguin. “This academy follows all the regular learning domains of a regular police academy.”
Helen Schulz, fourth-year fiber and polymer science major and cadet, heard about the cadet academy through her student job as an Aggie Host security officer.
“We do various security details for UC Davis. I’ve worked here for three years and I absolutely love the job,” Schulz said. “I’ve really become accustomed to working alongside the officers. That’s what kind of [drew] me toward [the cadet program].”
For about four months, the cadets attend the program each Thursday and Saturday. On Thursdays, they alternate between two hours of physical activity and two hours of instruction. On Saturdays, they dedicate about eight hours to both academics and fitness.
“[The workouts] are really good but also really hard,” said fifth-year human development major and cadet Jennifer Sahagun. “They really
push you but they’re also really supportive and I really like that because it encourages me to give it my 100 percent.”
Each week the cadets learn about different aspects of law enforcement, including areas like ethics, professionalism, cultural diversity, burglary and gang awareness. These classes are taught by professionals ranging from police officers to defense attorneys to representatives from the UC Davis AB540 and Undocumented Student Center.
“We had a couple detectives from the UC Davis police department come in and talk to us about sex crimes and crimes against children. [That] really got to me,” said fifth-year religious studies major and cadet Adam Santucci. “As law enforcement officers, they have to deal with that kind of stuff a lot and these two detectives were very nice, straightforward and very great people and that inspired me.”
In addition to academic and fitness classes, each cadet at the academy has to take on two projects outside the classroom. The first project is chosen by the cadet academy and the second is picked by the individual cadet.
“This year, we’re going to go to Fourth and Hope in Woodland, California [which is] transitional housing for a transient population,” Holguin said. “We’re going to cook food and serve them […] to give back for the community.
The UC Davis Cadet program is also free for participants; all cadets are asked to bring is a pair of black shoes.
“We know that they are students first. So, we pay for everything because it’s a luxury and a privilege to be a UC Davis student,” Holguin said. “We don’t want to burden them more and we want people that are interested in law enforcement. We don’t want to close the door to anybody, so everything is paid for.”
According to Holguin, UC Davis is the only university in the United States to offer such a cadet program.
“[We’re] the only ones, I believe, in the nation [who do it],” Holguin said. “This is our fourth year and we have officers not only at our police department, but also at different agencies throughout. We have students that are going on to be officers at LAPD, LA sheriff department, San Jose PD, Sac PD — we’ve got them all over, so they are […] going on to do better things.”
At the end of the academy, the chief will choose which cadet or cadets are offered a job. Sometimes, the chief will offer the cadet a sponsorship, which means that the UC Davis Police Department does not hire the cadet, but instead sends them to an academy and pays for it. Last year, the chief sponsored seven cadets and offered three jobs.
“This cadet program is [also] a breeding ground for us. You have to hire within the community — law enforcement has to recruit from their own crowd,” Holguin said. “We’re saying these are students that are here, they love this university, they want to continue to protect this university, so why not? We want community-based officers so we’re hiring from our own.”
Written by: Fatima Siddiqui – firstname.lastname@example.org