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Lebanon Police Department graduates initial class of eight cadets

The Lebanon Police Department graduated eight high school students in its inaugural cadet class June 24 at the Lebanon Police Station.
“Honestly, it’s one of the best things, anyone my age could do,” said cadet Kattalin Morgan. “It’s a good way to start off on a path like a yellow brick road because it’s constructive, gives you discipline, but also it gives you a chance to find yourself and where you fit in the community.”
The police department was hoping to bridge the gap between the students in Lebanon and law enforcement, officials said.
“The cadet program was pushed by Chief (Frank) Stevenson. The school needed leadership programs, but they didn’t have anything that bridged the gap between law enforcement and the community,” said David Dominy, school resource officer.
“The goal is to make them solid candidates for here, but we want to make them a more well-rounded officer or person. These are our future leaders sitting right here in front of you, and we couldn’t have asked for better leaders.”
The program kicked off with 16 cadets and participation was eventually whittled down to eight. Some prospective cadets dropped out, and some were cut because of attendance at school. Cadets get half a high school credit.
The eight program graduates were Morgan, Tyler Gabrielli, Jonah Fouts, Caidenn Klym, Alex Loudon, Marisa Mesa, Mason Schneider and Alex Wright.
The cadets spent time with guest speakers, learning laws, self-defense, and to how to handcuff a suspect.
“It’s not just show up and listen to what the presenter has to say, said Sgt. Ryan Padua. “They are tested along the way. That and their GPA they have to keep everything up, and they have to demonstrate good behavior. So, there’s a lot more than just showing up for a class and listening to what a person has to say. We want to make sure that they learn what we went over.”
They will assist the police department with traffic control, community events, among other things. Four cadets, who are now senior cadets, are attending the Salem Academy, where they will go more in-depth with their training.
“What we are after here is future leaders of the community,” Stevenson said during the ceremony. “What that means to me is hopefully I’ll be able to hire them here. There is nothing more important to me than having someone who has grown up in the community, been involved in the community, take time out of their days to come and help the police department for them to be hired here full-time.”
Morgan, who said her favorite part of the class was learning to handcuff suspects, received the leadership award, and cadet Gabrielli won outstanding achievement for showing marked improvement on his grades and in his performance in the program.
“I wanted to learn about the police, help some and maybe do it someday,” Gabrielli said.
Morgan said her goals may have changed after her experience in the program.
“My main goal was to be in the F.B.I.,” she said. “But now that I have gone through the academy I kind of want to be a detective.”