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The Metro East Cadets of Policing program completed its first of 10 weeks on Saturday, Jan. 9. The program includes 29 cadets, men and women ages 14 to 21, who are interested in learning more about a possible career in law enforcement.
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Police leaders in the Metro East have formed a new youth organization called MECOP, an acronym for Metro East Cadets of Policing.
The program completed its first of 10 weeks on Saturday, Jan. 9. The program includes 29 cadets, men and women ages 14 to 21, who are interested in learning more about a possible career in law enforcement. The cadets accepted into the program were interviewed first for the program, and a background check also was conducted. This will be an ongoing program where cadets may be involved a number of years in the program, until they reach the maximum age of 21. The cadets meet at the Fairview Heights Police Department every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. to begin training. The cadets must adhere to several rules throughout the 10-week program, such as maintaining a C+ grade point average in school, not wearing jewelry during the program hours and wearing an assigned uniform during program hours.
Cadets are placed into a learning environment to help prepare them for careers in policing or public service. In addition to learning policing techniques, cadets are exposed to training on ethics and integrity, leadership and teamwork, physical fitness, communication skills and career preparedness. In addition to learning about policing, the program offers cadets opportunities for community service and activities, including both educational field trips and recreational entertainment including camping, sporting events and other outdoor activities.
The program’s main objectives are to serve as a tool to diversify police candidate recruitment in the area; to promote positive interactions and understanding between police and youth; to provide career development skills to cadets; and to develop a sense of community and a dedication to service among young men and women interested in law enforcement. The Illinois State Police has been vital in assisting the Fairview Heights Police Department with coordinating this program. The State Police has several officers and agents participating in this program on a weekly basis.
The program is supported by a number of organizations, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois, the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Boy Scouts of America, the Urban League of St. Louis and the Law Enforcement Foundation of Illinois.
“Police youth leadership camps are an effective way for law enforcement to influence young lives and improve police-community relations,” Illinois State Police District 11 Interim Commander Capt. Timothy Tyler said. “This is the very first year for MECOP, and the Illinois State Police is honored and privileged to be a part of such a historic program.”