The UC Davis Police Department is once again opening its doors to anyone who wants to find out what it’s like to be a law enforcement officer through a pair of academies.
The Cadet Academy is for students (seniors and graduate students), and comes with the added incentive the possibility of a job after graduation.
All students, faculty, staff and community members are welcome to sign up for the Community Academy. Students can earn course credit for attending.
Both programs start in January, and the deadline to apply for both is Dec. 12.
“Our officers interact with the community on a daily basis, but not everyone understands what it’s like to be a law enforcement officer,” Interim Police Chief Jennifer Garcia said. “These programs are an opportunity for anyone to spend some time in our shoes and for us to build stronger relationships with our community.”
The Community Academy, January through March, includes lessons on police policies and tactics, hands-on experience collecting evidence; and tours of the county jail and coroner’s office.
The Cadet Academy, January through May, gives students an idea of what they would experience going through a real police academy — physical fitness, how to initiate a traffic stop, and more. But cadets don’t just run laps and memorize the Penal Code. This spring, the class cooked meals at a homeless shelter in Woodland, trained for an active-shooter situation and participated in a mock trial at the School of Law.
“We give our cadets the full experience,” said officer Ray Holguin, who teaches both academies.
The Police Department offers academy scholarships to top cadets, and has committed to hiring at least one cadet. It’s a way for the department to recruit officers who understand university life and reflect the demographics of campus.
“What better thing than to have university graduates go out into law enforcement?” Garcia asked. “They’ve got a leg up because they’re these bright, educated minds that can only help law enforcement.”
Since the Cadet Academy began in 2013, seven of its graduates have been hired as UC Davis police officers. Others are working as officers in Sacramento and San Jose, on other UC campuses and elsewhere.