The South Bend Police Department Cadet Program is designed for young men and women interested in exploring and developing their interest in the field of law enforcement while completing their college degrees.

What is the Police Cadet Program?

The South Bend Police Department Cadet Program is a part-time employment position. Cadets are hourly, part-time employees, who receive training and experience in various aspects of police service. For example, crime scene processing, forensics, community policing, crime analysis, crime prevention, investigations, patrol, and records collection and storage. Cadets must be full-time students during the school year.

In order to assist cadets in completing their college education and to seek a commitment of service to the city, the South Bend Police Department offers financial aid through a student loan program to offset the costs of going to college. Reimbursements will cover fees, tuition, or books, not to exceed $3,500.00 per semester. Additionally, the cadet is eligible for a bonus of $250.00 per semester if the cadet's GPA is a 3.5 (or equivalent) or higher. Cadets who do not maintain a 2.0 GPA (or equivalent) are automatically placed on academic probation. If the GPA is not brought back to a 2.0 GPA, the cadet may be terminated from the program.

The cadet shall be responsible for immediately reimbursing the City of South Bend for the full amount advanced should the cadet:

A. Be terminated for any reason;

B. Voluntarily leaves the department; or

C. Does not become a police officer for the City of South Bend for the required time

However, the South Bend Police Department will waive one-third (1/3) of the total tuition paid by the program (bonus excluded) for a cadet who is sworn in as a SBPD police officer for each year of service the cadet serves. A cadet that resigns or is terminated prior to full payment will have to repay the remaining amount of the reimbursement upon separation from SBPD.

In the event the cadet does not complete repayment by the time required, from that date forward, interest will accrue and be due in the maximum amount authorized by Title 24 of the Indiana Code.


What do Cadets do?

Once accepted into the program, cadets are assigned to training duties. Police cadets work many details and assignments in uniform and are involved in the following areas of rotational training within the department:

  • Patrol Division
  • Records
  • Property & Evidence Collection/Storage
  • Front Desk
  • Investigative Bureau
  • Crime Lab/CSI Assistance


Training Opportunities

Police cadets gain valuable experience while training for a career in law enforcement. Although police cadets don't have sworn police powers, they receive training including the following:

  • Community policing philosophy
  • Ethics and decision-making
  • Cultural awareness
  • Patrol techniques
  • Crime scene control
  • Defensive tactics
  • Firearms safety
  • Report writing/report taking
  • Evidence handling/processing
  • CPR/First Aid



Those interested in the program must meet the following criteria:

  • Age 18-23 at time of application

  • Senior in high school and accepted into a college (You will start this program once you graduated high school)

  • Be of good moral character and complete successful background investigation

  • Complete an oral interview with members of the Training Division

  • Have no arrests or convictions which would prohibit employment as a police officer

  • Be a U.S. citizen 

Upon completion of a two or four-year college degree, a police cadet will be hired (as positions and openings are available) as a police officer if:

  • They maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher

  • They receive a favorable recommendation and or evaluation while a cadet 

  • They complete all phases of the recruitment, testing, and hiring process

The Cadet will then be hired as a probationary officer and retained as a SBPD Police Officer pending ILEA graduation and successful completion of our Field Training Officer (FTO) program.


Ready to Apply?

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. You can download a Cadet Program Application HERE.

Program Contact:
Training Division
(574) 235-9158