Four Indian River Community College students are spending their afternoons working at the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office in the brand-new Cadet Program initiated by Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.
“The students attend classes in the morning and work part-time for the Sheriff's Office in the afternoon,” said Sheriff Mascara. “We hope to attract and retain the best possible candidates for law enforcement positions through our unique arrangement with the community college.”
Under that arrangement, students in the three-year-old Law Enforcement Academy Track program major in criminal justice and spend the final semester of the two-year program attending Indian River Community College’s Indian River Police Academy. They will graduate with an Associate of Science degree in Criminal Justice and a diploma from the police academy.
The plan then calls for the Sheriff's Office to hire the graduates as law enforcement officers.
“The students will get to know us, and we’ll get to know them,” Sheriff Mascara said. “The results so far have been positive for all concerned – the Sheriff's Office, the community college and the students. They will get a hands-on look at the reality of a criminal justice career.”
Larry Lawson, Director of the Indian River Police Academy, working with Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police on the Treasure Coast, came up with the idea of a Law Enforcement Academy Track Program, which is now in its fourth year.
Sheriff Mascara and his staff came up with the idea of refining the program by adding a Cadet component at the Sheriff's Office. At the agency, the student-employees work in detention, administration, investigations and patrol. They will finish their two-year program in June 2008.