Junior Cadets | Cadets | SB Regional Training Academy

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

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The Cadet Program is another opportunity for persons interested in a career with SBPD. The Cadet program is designed to inspire future law enforcement leaders by offering hands-on training and career opportunities at the same time.

What is the Police Cadet Program?

The SBPD Cadet Program is a part-time employment position. It is designed to help young adults acquire a broad overview of law enforcement in areas such as crime scene processing, forensics, homeland security, community policing, crime analysis, crime prevention, investigations, patrol, and records collection and storage.

The program offers uniformed part-time employment at the South Bend Police Department on a rotational assignment basis and paid tuition (up to $2000 per semester) in the form of a loan. Upon graduation and successful completion of the SBPD Officer testing and hiring process, the loan would be written off by the City.

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 have no 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 OR graduated and enrolled in college
  • 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 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 from the Cadet Board 
  • 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) 235-9224

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South Bend Regional Training Academy

The South Bend Regional Police Academy began in 1939. The academy presents courses of instruction for its membership throughout the year. Most seminars are free of charge, provided students' police departments/organizations are members of the South Bend Regional Police Academy. There are approximately 32 area departments that have membership in the academy. Those departments not associated with the Regional Academy may still attend training at our state of the art facility for a fee.

The South Bend Regional Police Academy is a non-profit organization. All money collected is used to maintain the Regional Academy. The Academy’s income is also supplemented by the South Bend Police Department, resulting in low-cost, high-quality training for the Regional Academy members.

For more information about membership and course offerings, please contact the SBPD Training Division at (574) 235-9224 or sbpdtraining@southbendin.gov.

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