The college-aged students you have probably wearing police-esque uniforms during football and basketball games, are members of the Washburn University Police and Washburn University Student Organization. Advised by Sergeant Danielle Wolf, the cadets learning many police tenets and core procedures, as well as partaking in training to be officially certified to carry a baton, as well as OC (Oleoresin Capsicum) Spray (aka Pepperspray). The latter actually involves them getting exposed to spray, just as a real LEO would, or a military getting exposed to tear gas during basic training.
Cadets Sayaka Kine, Tori Sheets, Katie Hensler, Ellis Donaldson, Josh Wiltz, Luke Williams and Thomas Showalter were all honored at a presentation, with VP for Administration and Treasurer Jim Martin giving an introduction. Among the honors were official certifications, as well as rank promotions.
Thomas Schowalter was promoted to Cadet Corporal Dec 13 with Kine and Sheets both being promoted to Cadet Sergeant on the same day. Katie Hensler as well was promoted from Cadet Sergeant to Cadet Lieutenant, the highest rank possible within the Cadet Program.
Donaldson, Sheets and Wiltz were all certified to carry both OC and batons with Wiltz and Donaldson meeting the overall Basic Training requirement, catching up to Sheets, Schowalter and more.
The amount of hours spent on duty at games were also recognized with Cadet Wiltz putting in 32.25 hours into Football, and Kine putting in a total of 38.5 hours into football, receiving an award as well as a certificate and ribbon to put on her uniform.
As for basketball, Sheets was awarded with a Certificate for 26.25 hours, Cadet Donaldson as well being awarded for 36.25 hours with Hensler putting in 41.75 hours, and Kine putting in 47.25.
They were also awarded for their efforts participating in community service. Schowalter and Sheets were both award for putting in over 200 hours each (281.45, and 287.95), and lieutenant Hensler getting over 400 hours, dedicating 493.40 hours in total.
Chief of Washburn Police Department Chris Enos spoke about the Cadet Program, giving important details as to why it is a rewarding experience, highlighting very important things that Departments without Cadet Programs can learn from.
“I think our Cadet program is one of the most rewarding programs our department offers. It’s truly a mutually beneficial program as it serves the needs of our department in several ways and at the same time, it enriches the academic experience for participants. Our cadets add a critical force multiplier allowing our officers to serve in other capacities during special events or critical incidents. We’re able to provide shuttle service at graduation, provide parking service for special events, and have a uniformed presence during other events. While that is the obvious advantage the program provides to our department, a less obvious advantage is the relationships we build with students. For a police department to be successful it must have the support of the community they serve. Our cadet program allows us to have students actively engage with our department and it helps to build relationships and connections with students in unique ways. When other students see we have students in our uniform as part of our program it helps to build community trust…”
The Cadets believe the program provides unique opportunities.
“The program provides some very unique advantages. While the classroom can provide critical knowledge to prospective law enforcement officers, there are a lot of things that must be taught outside of the classroom. Through our program, we begin teaching cadets valuable and tangible hands-on skills such as handcuffing and defensive tactics. While those are important, I think learning about the culture of law enforcement is just as important. We teach policy and procedure and make sure cadets understand the importance of following them. Our cadets are held to very high expectations because as they enter law enforcement they will be expected to live up to even greater expectations. For some students they learn very quickly this is not the field for them and this opportunity allows them to consider other options. For others, their cadet experience is the beginning of a successful career in law enforcement. Our program also offers students a very unique leadership opportunity. The program is run by students and this allows some of them to rise in rank and take on additional responsibility for running the program,“ the cadets said.
Sergeant Sheets, along with Kine and Schowalter, is graduating and spoke about her thoughts and experiences with the program.
“Being a part of the Cadets has been the best part of my Washburn experience because they became my family here. The connections that I made with these wonderful people will stick with me for the rest of my life. The wonderful Officers and staff taught me so much and I could never thank them enough for all that they have done. The experiences and training that I gained will help me be able to protect myself and those around me as I continue my journey in the field of Law Enforcement. I am so sad that my journey as a Cadet is now coming to an end but I cannot wait for what the future holds.”
“The program helped me grow as a person. I made good friends, and after two years of being a cadet, I think I am ready to become a police officer,” Kine said.
Overall, the amount of sheer hours every cadet put in is astounding, and every award they’re given can’t express how much time and dedication they have put into the program, let alone while also while also earning a degree, and they should all be commended and respect for their incredibly hard work.