The establishment of an American Legion National Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Program was adopted during the 1985 National Convention in New Orleans under Resolution 59 "as a way to stimulate respect for law enforcement and patriotic and responsible citizenship." It was an Americanism Commission program until the 1990 Fall Meetings when the National Executive Committee (NEC) passed Resolution 13, which stated that the Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Program be transferred to the National Security Commission.
However, during the 2011 Spring Meetings the NEC passed Resolution 37, which transferred the National Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Program back to the Americanism Commission in effort to keep it connected to the Legion’s other prominent Americanism programs (e.g., Boys State/Nation, Oratorical Contest, Shooting Sports and Legion Baseball).
The Americanism Commission’s overall goal is to encourage and help all Legion departments successfully build and conduct a National Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Program. The commission will utilize its resources and draw on the expertise of current Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Program to meet its goal of expanding the program.
Currently, 17 American Legion departments conduct a week-long Junior Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Program in partnership with their state police or highway patrol academy. A few of the department’s program titles vary in wording, such as "Student Trooper Program," "State Police Youth Week," "Law Enforcement Academy," etc. But they all have the same mission of educating youth about law enforcement, providing a day-in-the-life of a trooper in training, and instilling a newfound respect for law officials.
Most departments host its program at a law enforcement training center with city, county, state and federal law enforcement officers conducting the physical fitness and classroom education training. Cadets will learn officer survival techniques, defensive tactics, firearms safety, precision driving, law enforcement technology, accident and criminal investigation, and more.
Cadets are high school boys and girls who possess good moral character, self discipline and a desire to learn about law enforcement. The application process to attend the program varies by department, but typically a Legion post will nominate a cadet(s).
Learn more about The American Legion’s Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Program by visiting www.legion.org/juniorlaw/about. Read how to start a program here. And for more information, please contact the Program Director here.