Public Safety & Health

Homegrown: Sheriff’s Office launches young cadet program

With a “grow your own” mentality, Lane County Sheriff’s Office last week launched a new mentorship program for 18- to 21-years-olds to cultivate passionate deputies from the roots up.
“That’s the philosophy — to grow our own from the inside,” said LCSO Creswell Sergeant Scott Denham, who is coordinating the program with a team of advisors.
Cadets will serve at least 16 hours per month alongside deputies and undergo a variety of training, including law-enforcement tactics, legal issues, use of force, corrections and patrol operations, said LCSO Sheriff Cliff Harrold.
Harrold said they want the program to start off small, and strong. About six cadets from the county will be selected at first go, Denham said, possibly by the end of January.
From there, cadets will be exposed to the differences between a sheriff’s office and its municipal, state and federal police counterparts, attend and assist at community events, participate in ride-alongs and be mentored on the culture of public service. Cadets will work special teams and assignments including Dunes Patrol, Marine Patrol, Special Response Team and Forest Patrol.
With a worldwide shortage of police officers, Harrold said a cadet program is a “tool for recruitment,” a solution to “do more with less” and a way for LCSO to establish future longtime employment.
The program will give cadets a three-year leg-up to “build up their skills prior to being on the force so that when they turn 21, we have quality deputies that are ready to jump in,” Denham said. “This program fills that gap and grows maturity levels from late high school and early adulthood.”
It’s about grabbing attention early and in doing so, developing a passion, loyalty and commitment to service at a young age, officials said. That’s what both Harrold and Chief Deputy Carl Wilkerson gathered from their experience, who were part of a similar program in Creswell when they were teens. For them, their experience in the Law Enforcement Explorer Post codified both their career paths.
Denham will be in charge of selecting cadets through the application process, and said they are “looking for excited and motivated young people who are ready to put in time, energy and effort to do the program.” Harrold said the program seeks participants with good character and a desire to invest in something bigger – a desire to serve.
Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, 18-21 years old and must be enrolled in a high school or DEF program,
or have a high school diploma or GED. Visit to fill out an application.



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