CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Physical fitness, impeccable uniforms, 40 hours a week for 13 weeks: that is not how most college seniors think about spending their summer.
For ten college seniors from Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University however, going from ‘intern to cadet’ was an opportunity they could not pass up.
“I thought this is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Pedro del Carpo, a senior at ODU. “I can actually have some experience in my field.”
“I’m actually a psychology major, and I just like to work with different populations of people,” said Xavier Myles, another intern turned cadet, and senior at NSU. “I just figured this would be a good opportunity to get my foot in the door.”
Hosted by the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office, the program is a first of its kind of the Tidewater area – turning interns into cadets.
Once they graduate the academy, the new cadets be offered part time jobs with the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office. They will be eligible to work 25 hours a week in the jail while they finish college.
“The Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office Cadet Program allows us to find the best qualified individuals in college to work in the sheriff’s office and compliment my full-time staff,” Sheriff Jim O’Sullivan told News 3. Sullivan was responsible for implementing the program earlier this summer.
“In turn, these individuals are provided with valuable, practical experience in the criminal justice field that they otherwise would not have access to. I would like to thank Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University for partnering with us and making this program a reality.”
After the college cadets graduate from their universities, they will be eligible to fill any vacancies within the sheriff’s office.
Just like other cadets, the academy trains them in all areas, including rigorous physical fitness tests. If a cadet messes up the rhythm, the whole class is forced to do it all over again.
Many cadets told News 3, physical training sessions were the hardest part of the program.
“All the PT sessions,” said del Carpo. “Physical training was incredibly difficult, and you had to push yourself every day.”
Watch News 3's Merris Badcock go through cadet fitness tests, or scroll down to read more
Despite strained relationships between communities and law enforcement officers across the country, these interns turned cadets say they have a newfound respect for what it really takes to wear the uniform.
“You have to realize that you are going to be helping people that might not want your help,” said intern turned cadet Leremie Santos-Koos, who was also president of his cadet class.
“It definitely takes a special type of person to deal with all the scrutiny, but they definitely taught us, and trained us very well, and we’re definitely prepared to succeed in this line of work.”