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Police Cadets

Purpose of Cadet Program

The Columbia Police Department Cadet program is designed to provide a service for the City of Columbia, the Police Department and the Community that it serves. A Police Cadet is considered a future leader in the community. The purpose of the Police Cadet Program is to attract young, well-qualified men and women to participate in an organized on-the-job training program. This program includes instructions in the duties, responsibilities, methods, and techniques of the Department. This is a law enforcement apprenticeship program designed to provide persons aged 18 to 20½ a chance to experience the challenges and rewards of a police career. The program is designed to better qualify the members for police officer positions when they have reached the age of 21, while providing needed services for the Department.

Duties and Responsibilities

The duties listed below are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related or a logical assignment.  The Police Cadet will also be required to attend classroom training sessions in addition to these on-the-job requirements.

Under direct supervision of a sworn member the Police Cadet performs various law enforcement office and field duties including the handling of public inquiries; relieving sworn officers of non-sworn police officer duties; operating communication equipment; performing various clerical and routine office duties; conducting surveys; writing reports; fingerprinting, performing traffic and pedestrian control, and performing other related duties as required.

The Police Cadet is expected to deal with the public in a respectful and courteous manner; and to learn, understand and apply applicable police department rules, regulations, instructions, laws, ordinances, policies, practices and methods.

The work of the Police Cadet will vary dependent on the needs of the Police Division they are assigned such as participating in crime prevention activities like attending neighborhood watch meetings, school and community group presentations, and conducting Police Department building tours while assigned to the Crime Prevention Unit.

The Police Cadet will also participate in Departmental initiatives which foster positive interaction between the police and members of the community.  Two such programs interacting with the youth of the community would be the Youth Ambassadors for Justice and the R.I.S.K. programs. Another example of community outreach would be the Beyond the Badge Initiative.


Candidates for consideration to be a Police cadet must be between the age of 18 and 20½, and must be a U.S. citizen. The candidate must be a high school graduate or possess a valid G.E.D. The Candidate must possess, or can acquire, a valid operator’s license by date of appointment as a Police Cadet. The candidate must be of good character and reputation and have never committed, been involved in or convicted of a felony or a serious misdemeanor. The candidate must have the ability to perform essential job functions with or without a reasonable accommodation. Any illegal drug use will be scrutinized with respect to recent use, type of drug and frequency of use. The candidate’s credit rating, if established, must be satisfactory. In short the candidate must meet the requirements to be considered for employment as a Police Officer except for age, as when the candidate reaches the age of 21 he may be appointed to the rank of Police Officer at the discretion of the Chief of Police.

Application Process

Candidates for the position of Police Cadet will follow the same established application process as those applying to be Police Officer candidates. This would include Polygraph examination, Psychological examination, Physical abilities testing, a background interview and background investigation, and a medical examination, including drug testing.

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