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Police cadets get a head-start
Getting a head-start on a career in law enforcement is just one of the benefits provided by the Corning Police Cadet Program.
"The program really does give youth interested in law enforcement a foot-in-the-door to advancing their career, but it offers a lot more than that," said Corning police Officer Jeremiah Fears, the cadet program supervisor.
Fears said the program teaches confidence, self-reliance, teamwork, self-discipline, service to the community and moral character.
Cadet Evelyn Castrejon, 15, of Corning, agrees.
"I've gained a lot of confidence as a cadet. It has also helped me take my schoolwork more seriously. If you want to be a cop it starts with good habits in school," Castrejon said.
Castrejon is petite in stature but a firecracker when it comes to her cadet work.
"She can out do a lot of the guys," Fears said. "She is a lot of power in a small package."
Juan Vadillo, 17, said he has also benefited from the program.
"I plan on having a career in law enforcement and I have found being a cadet has reinforced that decision and is also preparing me for the police academy," he said.
Corning's cadet program has already produced a number of law enforcement successes.
One of the most important to the community is former cadet Armando Ochoa, 25, who is now an officer with the Corning Police Department. He served as a cadet for seven years before going into the Butte College Police Academy.
"The police academy was difficult, but it would have been a lot harder if I hadn't had my experience as a cadet," he said. "I was already aware of the standards and requirements expected in police work, which definitely gave me a bit of an advantage. I always got good reports on my work and appearance."
The city hired Ochoa, who is fluent in Spanish, after graduating from the academy. Ochoa said he highly recommends the Corning Police Department cadet program to any youth interested in law enforcement.
"The program offers you opportunities for ride-alongs and the chance to see the big picture of law enforcement and whether or not it is something you want to pursue," he said.
Augie Hernandez is another cadet success story who is furthering his career in law enforcement.
"I'm a dispatcher for the Corning Police Department," Hernandez said. "I don't think I would have this job if it weren't for the cadet program."
Two cadets, Chase Glenn and David Dyke, have become California Highway Patrol officers.
Leveta Glenn said she is extremely proud of her son and gives a lot of credit to the cadet program in preparing him for his career in law enforcement.
Dyke is currently assigned to the CHP division office in Redding.
Fears said among the requirements, cadet applicants must have a high school diploma, GED, or be enrolled in high school with a grade-point-average of 2.0 or better, be at least 14-years-old at the time of application and meet background investigation standards.
"We are looking for good, qualified young men and women to be part of our program," Fears said. "It is one of the best ways to prepare yourself or find out before going to the academy if you want a career in law enforcement."