The basic Cadet requirements are as follows:
- 16-20 years old
- Have graduated High School or have a minimum 2.0 GPA if still enrolled in school
- Have height and weight in reasonable proportion
- Successfully complete a written exam, character interview and background check
After completion of the academy, Cadets are required to attend two meetings a month. They are on the first and third Monday of every month from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. at the San Diego Police Department Headquarters building, 1401 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101. It is highly recommended that Cadets also participate in other activities, but it is not mandatory. Therefore, time commitment with the Cadet program can range from the minimum of four hours a month to over 40.
The Cadet academy must be completed before becoming a Cadet. Academies are held twice a year. Each academy will start with a mandatory orientation meeting where more definite information will be given. For the next six sessions, class is held every Monday night from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m., and every Saturday from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
The training academy includes courses on CPR, Criminal Law, Arrest Procedures, Search and Seizures, Ethics, Law and Arrest, Map Book Reading, Narcotics, Report Writing, Policy and Procedures, Field Training, Defensive Tactics and Patrol Procedures.
Approximately one week after completion of academy classes, a graduation is held to honor those who have passed.
While teamwork is emphasized throughout the academy, individual achievement is recognized as well. Five awards are presented upon graduation. The first is the Academic Achievement Award given to the Cadet with the best test scores. Next is the Top Cadet Award given to the Cadet chosen by his/her fellow Cadets based on motivation and team effort. Third is the Most Improved Award given to the Cadet the officers feel has come the farthest in terms of attitude and achievement. Last are the two Physical Fitness Awards for the top male and female Cadets based on push-ups, sit-ups and run times.
Advance Cadet Training (ACT) Academy
The Advance Cadet Training Academy is a great privilege and learning experience for the Cadets. It is NOT MANDATORY, but it is so much fun that most Cadets choose to spend five hours a day for four days, and all day the following Saturday participating in it. A few of the highlights include an introduction to S.W.A.T., a demonstration from the fire department, learning Patrol Procedures, Advance Radio Procedures, Street Weapons, Officer Survival, Defense Tactics, and Arrest and Control.
A trip is also taken to the S.W.A.T. obstacle course for Cadets to test their physical abilities. Cadets are timed in completing challenging tasks such as carrying a 180 pound dummy, jumping over four, six, and eight foot fences, crawling through dog houses, jumping through windows and much more.
On Saturday, the last day of the A.C.T. Academy, Cadets participate in "Duffy Town," a simulated town complete with houses, a bank, a store, live victims, gang members, thieves and innocent bystanders played by police officers. This is a chance for Cadets to utilize the skills they have learned in a controlled environment.