IU East Campus Police provides cadet program for students to gain professional experience, certification

The Indiana University East Campus Police Department is offering a new professional training program for students interested in careers in law enforcement.

Campus Police Chief Burt Cole said IU East is participating in the Indiana University Police Department Cadet Program for the first time this fall semester, along with IU Kokomo and IU Southeast.

Chief Cole said the cadets will have a competitive edge and greater marketability as new graduates because the program will provide professional experience and they will be certified police officers once they complete the Indiana University Police Department Basic Academy.

Two cadets are in the program this fall. Police Cadets Sergio Santiago, of Richmond, Ind., and Nikolas Natali, of Somerville, Ohio, are juniors majoring in criminal justice at IU East. Both attend classes full-time and work with the Campus Police Department 15-20 hours per week.

Santiago and Natali began their training in the cadet program October 8.

“They are both doing very well,” Chief Cole said. “They are learning the ropes and working with police officers to learn security details.”

Cole said police cadets are eligible to attend the IUPD Basic Academy, a 14-week program held each August, if they show an aptitude for police work and maintain a GPA of at least 2.3 or higher. According to the IUPD, the Basic Academy provides a comprehensive and unique law enforcement training program which, when coupled with the university’s educational programs, produces a highly qualified, experienced, and educated law enforcement professional.

Robert Ramsey, associate professor of criminal justice, said he is excited about the new police cadet program because it gives high achieving criminal justice students who want a career in law enforcement an opportunity to work in real-life police situations while they are pursuing their degrees.

“The quality classroom education these students already receive at IU East, now coupled with the practical experience they receive as a police cadet, certainly enhances their educational experience and better positions them to enter the workforce upon graduation,” Ramsey said.

Cadets in the academy receive complete law enforcement training required by the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. Once the program is successfully completed, the cadets become certified law enforcement officers with full police authority in the state of Indiana.

After graduating from the academy, the students will return to work as part-time officers at IU East while completing their academic degree program.

The IU East Campus Police Department employs six police officers. Natali said training with the officers at IU East provides diverse knowledge and practice in police work. Two of the IU East officers are a former police chief and sheriff, providing senior experience in addition to basic skills.

“All of the officers have their own way of doing things. It just shows me and Sergio how to talk with people. I think that’s the most important part of the program,” Natali said. “We uphold the duty of law enforcement and that is to make people feel safe and that we’re friendly so that they are able to talk with us.”

Santiago and Natali are also training each week to prepare for the academy. Santiago was on the cross country team at Richmond High School and continues to run three to five times a week. He said the academic coursework in the criminal justice program – including criminal justice law and writing briefs – is also preparing them for the academy.

“I’m looking forward to learning everything. It’s going to be exciting,” Santiago said.