Since 1990, the American Legion and the Virginia State Police have teamed up to provide the youth of Virginia with an opportunity to experience first-hand what it takes to become a law enforcement officer. The American Legion Junior Law Cadet Program offers a fast paced week of orientation to law enforcement training and an insight to the criminal justice system.
The Virginia State Police Academy in Richmond, Virginia provides an ideal campus for rising high school seniors to learn about law enforcement. As the training site for Virginia state troopers, the Academy provides the facilities to make the law cadets’ education and experience a rewarding one.
The American Legion Junior Law Cadet Program is an intensive five-day session in which young men and women are exposed to almost every facet of law enforcement. During the instruction at the academy, the students will receive orientation to criminal investigation, patrol techniques, accident investigation, firearms safety, use of radar and VASCAR, and marksmanship. The cadets will also learn about the history of policy, the drug problems facing all Virginians today, and the State Police recruitment process.
The Junior Law Cadet Program consists of vigorous training along with both practical and classroom instruction. This includes a variety of “hands on” training pertaining to law enforcement.
Practical training includes:
- Water safety and the use of diving equipment.
- Vehicle Operator improvement on the Academy driving range and skid pan.
- Weapons safety training and marksmanship on the pistol range.
- Observation of Medevac Operations.
- Familiarization with narcotics detection using police canines.
In addition to the classroom and practical experience, cadets will also have the opportunity to tour Richmond-area law enforcement agencies, the State Capitol, the Governor’s Mansion, and a visit to a forensics crime laboratory.
To be eligible for the Junior Law Cadet Program, all applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Must have completed their junior year of high school in the year they plan to attend the program. Written certification is required of each applicant’s high school grade-level.
- Must have a valid motor vehicle operator’s license or learner’s permit. A copy must be attached to the application.
- Must be available to attend the entire program session (Sunday afternoon to Friday afternoon).
- Successful candidates may not attend either American Legion Boys State or American Legion Auxiliary Girls State.
The purposes of the program are:
- To encourage young people to consider careers in law enforcement.
- To foster in our youth respect for law enforcement.
- To enhance law enforcement and community relations.
Those applicants who are selected to attend the Junior Law Cadet Program will receive an information packet from the American Legion in early May. Included will be a list of items and clothing the cadets should bring with them, a map with directions to the State Policy Academy, and a physical exam form which must completed 30 days prior to the start of the program.
The Junior Law Cadet Program is neither a summer camp nor a week-long vacation excursion. Cadets will be required to take part in physical activities including marching, and will also require that they endure long days usually beginning at 6:00 a.m. with some evening training.
Neither the American Legion nor the Virginia State Police in any way imply that by attending this program the cadets will automatically qualify for law enforcement training after the completion of high school. It serves as an orientation to career possibilities in some aspect of criminal justice.
Students, both male and female, who will have completed their junior year of high school (be a rising senior) by the annually announced June dates for the Junior Law Cadet session must apply through the local American Legion Post.
Sponsoring American Legion Posts are responsible for the costs of the program. This includes meals, housing, Junior Law Cadet t-shirts to be worn during training sessions, and a graduation certificate and pin. The Virginia State Police counselors, program instructors, academy facilities, and equipment are provided as a public service.
A student in the Falls Church, Virginia area who wishes to apply for selection to the Law cadet Program should contact the American Legion Post 130 in Falls Church by completing the form below. The Junior Law Cadet coordinator for American Legion Post 130 is Tommy Powell.