The program only began five years ago but enrolment is highly competitive. With a limit on available space, every year at least 50 kids are turned away. Kim Smith reports.
The Calgary Police Cadet Corps is marking five years of being part of the community and already enrolment is highly competitive.
“In 2011, they started out with just 12 youth,” Acting Sgt. Mark Kane from Calgary police said. The program now has 128 youth in its program.
“There were about 300 applicants in my class, which would have been year two I believe. I was lucky enough to be accepted,” Riley Kettenbach a 4th year cadet said.
With a limit on available space, every year at least 50 kids are turned away.
Cadet chief, Jessica Howe was one of the program’s first active cadets. She was inspired to apply by her mom, a Calgary police officer.
“It was kind of putting myself out there, I wasn’t sure what I was going to get out of it or what to exact from the whole program,” Howe said. “I got into the program and that was one of the best years that I experienced.”
Since 2011, 275 Calgary youth have worn the cadet uniform and walked away with leadership, communication skills and building comradery. The cadets can spend up to five years in the program, moving up the ranks.
“I’m an only child, so I don’t have any brothers or sisters at home but when I come here I have 160 brothers and sisters,”Kettenbach said.
“As youth, it gives us an opportunity to actually take the lead and help and mentor other youth like us,” Howe said.
Other cities are now looking to Calgary for guidance on how their model is working.
“What the police foundation is doing with programs like the cadet corps is unlike anything being done in Canada,” Tara Robinson from the Calgary Police Foundation said.
On Sunday, the Calgary Police Foundation had a ‘Friends and Family Celebration’ at the YouthLink Calgary Police Interpretive Centre through the afternoon.
It was a chance for people to learn about the canine unit and other police responsibilities. Kids also had a chance to explore the YouthLink Centre.