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Springfield police to launch cadet program

By: Jordan Ross

Posted: 01/8/2019 10:00 AM

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The proceeds of crime will fund a new cadet program in Springfield.

Chief Mark Kane of the Springfield Police Service says $20,000 in provincial funding will be used to create the new youth-oriented program, which he hopes to have up and running in April.

The one-time funding formed part of a larger announcement made last month by Premier Brian Pallister and Justice Minister Cliff Cullen, who disbursed nearly $450,000 from a federal proceeds of crime fund to six law enforcement agencies.

Kane said the idea of a cadet program came from his time as a police officer in Calgary.

"We found that it was a good way of having a positive interaction with youth at that age," he explained.

Springfield’s cadet program will differ from Winnipeg’s, where over-18 cadets participate in patrols and direct traffic.

Kane wants to impart leadership skills and self-confidence in youth aged 14 to 18 through evening activities including teambuilding exercises, sports, community volunteering, and guest speakers.

"The kind of stuff that makes them successful citizens as they go forward," he explained. "They are the future leaders of tomorrow."

The police service has reached out to Sunrise School Division about facility use in Oakbank or Dugald. Cadets can expect to learn skills useful in a variety of careers, like how to ace a job interview.

"We’re not training young people to become police officers. If they choose to do that, that’s great," Kane said.

He hopes to recruit eight cadets this spring, then add another 16 by fall. Interested youths must complete an application, write a letter of interest, and clear a background check.

Uniforms and teaching materials will be purchased with the provincial funding, and Kane also hopes to offer a small scholarship for top cadets.

Long-term operational funding will also be needed. A foundation may be established to encourage a local donor base led by businesses and community groups, Kane said.

Over time, he also wants to tailor crime prevention programs for local businesses, seniors, and young drivers.

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