Junior Cadets

Junior Cadets

The South Bend Police Department’s Jr. Cadet Program is a worksite program for young men and women who are interested in a law enforcement career. Possible careers include uniformed officers, investigators, and support positions such as ballistics examiners, evidence technicians, intelligence analysts, and crime lab technicians.

The program is designed for young men and women who have at least completed eighth grade and are 14 to 20 years of age. The program’s purpose is to allow enthusiastic youth to experience first-hand how a police department functions and what it takes to get started in a challenging career in local law enforcement.

What do Jr. Cadets do?

Jr. Cadets perform a variety of community services. They work with the Police Department, assisting with large events such as National Night Out, the Rum Village Cinco de Mayo festival, and the SBPD Treat Night. Cadets also participate in mock bank robbery training, graffiti paint-overs, and fundraiser events such as car washes and restaurant give-backs.

The Jr. Cadets may participate in the police and Officer Survival School trainings. During training, the department needs actors to play the roles of victims, witnesses, and suspects. It is just as much a learning experience for the Jr. Cadet as it is for the police officer in training.

Jr. Cadets over the age of 16 are able to ride on patrol with officers on a limited basis, enabling them to gain enough personal experience to make an informed decision as to whether they want to pursue careers in law enforcement.

The program is designed to provide youth with self-confidence, discipline, and a feeling of community involvement. Participants are trained in all aspects of law enforcement, including traffic stops, crime scene investigation, defensive tactics, firearm safety, report writing, arrest procedures, and crimes in progress.

When are the Meetings?

Bimonthly meetings are scheduled to best fit the schedules of all Jr. Cadets, but are generally held on a weekday evening. The majority of the meetings are held at the South Bend Police Department at 701 W. Sample Street. Meetings are typically 1 ½ to 2 hours in length.

Jr. Cadets are required to attend the meetings and volunteer at special events when available. Jr. Cadets may also volunteer their time in other approved sections of the police department.


  • Candidates have completed eighth grade and are 14 to 20 years of age

  • If you are under the age of 18, you need parental consent to participate in the Junior Cadets program

  • You should have a general interest and appreciation for law enforcement

  • You must have and maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better, be of good moral character, abstain from using alcohol and drugs, and must not have a felony or misdemeanor conviction

  • The Jr. Cadet program consists of a written application, oral interview, and background investigation

Upon acceptance, you will remain a probationary Jr. Cadet for three months and will be allowed to participate in limited activities. After the probationary period, you will have full access to the opportunities available through the program.

Ready to Apply?

Applications are available at the front desk of the South Bend Police Department.

Program Contact:

Mary Jane Bueno
(574) 235-9224