At some Los Angeles police stations, a single officer supervised 60 teenage cadets. Cadets used social media to bully one another or express “infatuations” with police officers. They sometimes logged into police computers using an officer’s serial number. Officers who worked with cadets received no training in how to interact with young people. These were among the deficiencies cited in an internal review of the Los Angeles Police Department’s cadet program, which is reeling from a scandal involving stolen police cruisers and alleged abusive sexual contact between a police officer and a 15-year-old cadet, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Police officials released the review and an updated manual for the department’s youth programs. The new manual addresses some flaws in the previous document, which was last revised more than a decade ago, and did not include rules about social media. In June, three cadets in stolen police cars led officers on a chase through the streets. Four other cadets were arrested on suspicion of stealing Tasers, bulletproof vests and other equipment. A relationship between officer Robert Cain and a 15-year-old female cadet developed in part through text messages. Cain has been named in various sex charges, and police are continuing an internal investigation of the cadet scandal, which has cast a cloud over a program that enrolls more than 2,000 young people ages 13 to 20. Police Chief Charlie Beck said the number of cadets has tripled in recent years, which has led to some of the problems described in the review.