Whether they are riding their bikes or walking around campus, running to classes or running for the Indiana University East track team, Clint Swanson and Brandon Lingenfelter have gained valuable legs up on their careers while serving as cadets on the university police force.
They are following their dreams in the classroom, in law enforcement and in helping other people. They are thinking big about their futures.
“I aspire to be a police chief,” Lingenfelter said. “I’ve dreamed of being a police officer for my whole life.”
One of the reasons he wants to go into law enforcement is because he is following in the footsteps of a beloved grandfather, he said.
“It’s knowing every day that I have the chance to impact lives in positive ways, that I can inspire people to do the right things,” Lingenfelter said.
Swanson said he too was inspired by the law-enforcement example of a family relative and also agrees on the altruistic aspects of law enforcement.
“It gives me a chance to interact (with students and faculty) every day,” Swanson said. “I really like that.” Swanson, of Vevay, Ind., said the atmosphere and instructors at IU East are inspiring.
“I love being at IU East,” Swanson said. “It’s a lot more personal here. The teachers care. They want you to succeed.”
The elite cadet program requires a lengthy application process of interviews, background checks and fitness assessments. Only two are selected each year. They serve as cadets for their junior year.
“It felt great to get in the program,” Lingenfelter said, who came to IU East exclusively in an effort to get in the cadet program. “The hard work and preparation really paid off.”
The program offers special opportunities to succeed. “It is the only program that is done in any college that allows you to spend a whole year being a cadet in training,” Lingenfelter said, who is from Brookville, Ohio. “It’s a very unique and high standard program, very well respected.”
Swanson added, “It’s been one of the best decisions of my life to come here. I have so many career options. That’s what’s so good about this program.”
He is pondering going to graduate school or taking a job with a police department after graduating next spring with a degree in law enforcement.
The Indiana University Police Department-East (IUPD-East) cadets have no problems landing jobs. In fact, Lingenfelter and Swanson already are highly sought because they completed the law enforcement academy this summer at IU’s main campus at Bloomington.
They also qualified to take the bike course. All together, they spent about 600 hours there. They had to find their own housing, but earned IU East credit and also were paid as cadets.
“They both did very well in the academy,” said IUPD-East Interim Police Chief Scott Dunning. “Having a college degree and certification is ‘like a golden ticket,’” Dunning said. “You can immediately work at any police department in Indiana. They don’t have to send you to the academy (which all officers must do within six months). It’s priceless.”
Ross Alexander, dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences said the cadet program is a beneficial experience for students pursuing a career in law enforcement.
“We are very proud of both Brandon and Clint for graduating from the IU Police Academy, completing the bicycle certification, and excelling in all aspects of the training, earning high marks in both academics and physical fitness particularly,” Alexander said.
Swanson continued an IU East trend of leading the fitness category of the academy. He received a perfect score of 500.
Swanson was the most valuable performer for the KIAC last spring for his achievements with the IU East men’s track and field team. He has been recognized by the NAIA for maintaining a minimum 3.5 GPA while at IU East.
He said the he keeps up with academics by doing his work quickly after getting assignments. “Do the work and be on time. That takes a lot of stress off. It’s about minimizing,” Swanson said.
Lingenfelter says he keeps balance with the help of a flexible schedule.
“They are willing to work with you to make sure you get the work done,” he said. “Grades are very important.”
As certified police officers now, Swanson and Lingenfelter will work with full-time law enforcement staff at IUPD-East for their senior years. “They will be out on patrol on bike and on foot to let the community see them,” Dunning said.
They will be riding two new bikes that were purchased through the Cycling and Fitness Warehouse, Alexander said.
“This is another example of the strong ties among our criminal justice students, the Criminal Justice program, and the IUPD-East,” Alexander said.
Alexander thanks Kory George and John Dils of the Cycling and Fitness Warehouse for helping with the fully-outfitted bikes. “Both Kory and John have an important relationship with IU East in a number of capacities,” Alexander said. “They are valued partners.”
Lingenfelter is thankful for the professional opportunities made available through all of the partnerships at IU East. “This program offers a rare opportunity for students. I would definitely recommend it,” he said.
He’s also thankful for the opportunities to make a difference at IU East.
“It’s so special and unique to have people come up and talk to you, shake your hand while you are on patrol. We can make such a positive impact,” Lingenfelter said.
This fall semester, IUPD-East welcomed two new cadets to the program. Kristen Miller and Max Meddings are this year’s cadets and will attend the IU Police Academy in summer 2017.