St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway speaking to potential recruits last year at Lakewood High School
BY FRANK DROUZAS, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG — The Student Police Cadet Program is offering an excellent path to a career in law enforcement for local high school students.
The program was launched last year with Lakewood High School and was available to its students only, but starting this school year it will be expanded to also allow students from Gibbs, St. Pete and Northeast High Schools as well.
Students participating will have the opportunity to take dual enrollment courses at the St. Petersburg College Allstate campus, which include some of the core courses of the Criminal Justice program such as Intro to Criminal Justice, Research Methods and Crime and Delinquency. They also have the opportunity to take a college level composition course.
The two-year program is available to juniors and seniors who have a 3.0 grade point average or higher, though individual cases can be reviewed, said Michael Hughes, chair of law enforcement programs at the St. Petersburg College Allstate campus.
Hughes agreed that one of the initial aims of the program was to expose a greater number of young African Americans to a career in law enforcement from an educational perspective, but was quick to add that it is open to everyone.
“But we’re not speaking to just African Americans,” he said, “we’re speaking to all students regardless of their gender or ethnic background.”
Last fall there were six students in the program, but Hughes said that when representatives visited the area schools in recent months to talk about the program, there was been a high student turnout. If this enthusiasm is any indication, he expects a greater number of enrollees for this fall.
• After two years in the program, these students will have partially completed (12 credits) the required minimum of 30 college credit hours in order to be eligible for hire as a Police Cadet to attend the Police Academy.
• They can continue to work as a part time civilian with the Police Department until they complete the required college credits. Students would be able to gain experience as they explore law enforcement as a career. As a part-time employee with the St. Petersburg Police Department, they would have direct contact with officers.
• If hired as a Police Cadet, St. Petersburg Police pays for all academy tuition, as well as a salary of $18.65 per hour. After successfully graduating from the academy, sworn officers receive entry-level salary of $45,381.
For more information, students and parents should contact their guidance counselors.