Dover PD Adding Six Cadets for Downtown - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover PD Adding Six Cadets for Downtown

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Just out of high school and patrolling the streets - the Dover Police Department is ready to hire six cadets to help increase its presence in the city's downtown.

The cadets must be over 18 and recruiting will focus on local college kids.

This is not a new concept for Dover. But is one that hasn't been used in decades. Mayor Robin Christiansen says the city used a cadet program successfully in the 1970s. Now Dover police are resurrecting the concept.

"They're going to have the power of arrest," Christiansen said. "They're going to focus on quality of life crimes in the downtown area."

While they'll be able to arrest people, there will be difference between cadets and full officers.

"They will not be carrying a service revolver," the mayor said. "They will be carrying all other police equipment."

That includes a nightstick and taser.

"They will be trained in when to use them, when not to use them and how to use them," said Christiansen.

The training the cadets get overall will be important. Some city leaders expressed concerns about the program.

"I believe the concept is a good concept. But a major concern is the maturity of a 18-year-old or college student," said Roy Sudler, who is a non-councilman member of the city's legislative, finance and administration committee. The committee gave the thumbs up to the program Monday night.

"We realize there was a certain maturity, level of responsibility for a uniformed officer representing the city of Dover," Christiansen said.

The mayor says recruits will be heavily vetted. The cadets will make about $12 an hour. They'll work a little less than 20 hours a week each.

The program will cost Dover between $50,000 and $60,000 for its first six months next year. As point of comparison, just one brand new full officer costs the city about $84,000 a year in salary and benefits.

Christiansen is cautiously optimistic about the program.

"It's going to be on a trial basis. I look forward to it being a success. But we're going to evaluate it as we go along."

Sudler says the national picture factors into his concerns about the cadet program. An example - there have been questions about the age and maturity level of an officer in Cleveland who last month shot and killed a 12-year-old boy holding a toy gun. Again, Dover PD's cadets will not be issued firearms.

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