Early in his career as a Nebraska state trooper, John Thompson began volunteering with The American Legion Department of Nebraska’s Junior Law Cadet Program – an annual weeklong opportunity for high school juniors to get a taste of law-enforcement training.
He cares for the program so much that he’s stuck around for 36 years – 28 while still a patrolman and the past eight as director. Quite simply, Thompson likes what the Junior Law Cadet Program does for young men and women.
“It’s such a dramatic change in attitude, demeanor, confidence (for the participants),” he says. “It all comes together in that period of time.”
Admitting he’s biased, Thompson says the program remains his favorite Legion activity.
“This one, I think, probably ends up being the most positive,” he says. “There are a lot of girls here who are introverts. By the time they graduate, they’re able to communicate with others within their own class. It gives them life skills they wouldn’t have otherwise. I don’t care if they go into law enforcement (or) the military. I think the experience here will benefit them no matter what career path they choose.”
Branch of Service:Army, 1968-1970
American Legion Post:Post 354, Pleasant Dale, Neb.
Years in the Legion: 44
- Department public relations office
- Department Law & Order chairman