SIDNEY — The Sidney Police Department is in the process of creating a cadet program to better connect area youth to careers in public service.
“It’s not just so much for young adults in the age frame that we’re looking at, just to become police officers. A lot of time, even in police work, (people) become police officers and decide, ‘oh, it wasn’t really what I thought it was’. By having this program, it’s not just all around becoming police officers as much as it is becoming a public service person,” Community Resource Officer Bryce Stewart said. “It’s about building something with the youth — not just with our community in Sidney, but with our community in Shelby County.”
Stewart highlighted that public service encapsulates all types of jobs — from police officers and firefighters, to dispatchers and everything in-between — and that one of the goals of having a cadet program is to help guide participants toward career paths they may have an interest in. Likewise, people can see how all things operate in public service. Stewart has been working alongside Sergeant Chris Burmeister to bring the cadet program to the Sidney Police Department, and the program will be part of the national Public Safety Cadets program.
The first showcase of the cadet program will take place at an open house the department will hold on Nov. 7 from 1 to 3 p.m. The open house will include a walkthrough of what the program will entail, and attendees will have the opportunity to meet representatives from the tactical response team, as well as a bike officer and instructors for a use of force simulator. Stewart reached out to the Sidney Department of Fire and Emergency Services as well, to see if any first responders could attend and offer more information and insight into their department.
“We want to cover those areas of things that are possibilities of what we’ll cover during the cadet program,” Stewart said.
The program is primarily aimed at anyone age 14 to 21 and interested in public service. While the program is still in its beginning stages, Stewart said that the department is looking into using grants to help fund the program. Likewise, there will be a membership fee for cadets participating in the program. One of the benefits, Stewart said, is that participants in the program will see the full scope of what working in public service is really like.
“It’s not just traffic stops and taking people to jail. It’s not just loading someone into the back of a medic and taking them to the hospital, or a dispatcher sitting in a chair all day long, or whatever they may think it could be. Some people don’t know those aspects of a dispatcher, or medics or police officers and our day-to-day lives,” Stewart said.
Community-wide benefits include the Sidney Police Department opening its doors to something new that allows the department to reconnect with adolescents and young adults in the community. Stewart said that the program could help lead to less vandalism, curfew breaks and violence in the community, as well as developing young people into leaders.
“We’re developing leaders and people who are making good choices and good decisions. They may get into the program and like it, but decide not to be a police officer — they could be the next president of one of the big companies in town, or bring a company into town. You never know what you’re building with leadership and responsibility, and the community benefits from that kind of thing,” Stewart said.
The Sidney Daily News conducts a periodic interview to update readers with news from the Sidney Police Department, 234 W. Court St., Sidney.