LAPD Chief Defends Cadet Program At Graduation Despite Mounting Scandals

Hundreds of teenagers gathered at the Galen Center near USC Saturday morning to graduate from the Los Angeles Police Department's Cadet program amid rising news about misconduct and scandals within the program. In recent weeks, the program was suspended in two divisions after cadets stole and crashed police cruisers, and then LAPD Officer Robert Cain was arrested for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old cadet who was arrested in connection with the thefts. According to the L.A. Times, text messages revealed that Cain allegedly knew of the thefts and possibly assisted the teenagers. On Friday, the Times reported that over 100 firearms were seized from Officer Cain's Rancho Cucamonga home during a search for evidence around the alleged statutory rape.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck held an inspection of the more than 450 graduates and the roughly 1,275 other cadets attending the ceremony, according to the L.A. Times. Chief Beck wanted to extend the inspection to the entire cadet program because he wanted "them to see the chief, and look the chief in the eye, and know that I care about their future and I care about their present," according to KTLA. The inspections are working in tandem with a review of the entire cadet program after these scandals revealed poor oversight. In his speech to the cadets, Chief Beck mentioned how enrollment for the cadet program has surged in recent years, "contributing to the department's struggle to maintain proper supervision," according to KTLA.

Despite the controversy, Chief Beck remains committed to the popular program for disadvantaged youth in Los Angeles. He described the cadets as "the city's future," adding "[o]ur goal is to make [the cadets] the best human beings you can possibly be, to prepare you for what can be a difficult life."