The Eeyou Eenou Police Force (EEPF) is accepting candidates for a new cadet program that could get underway this fall. The pilot project will initially focus on the communities of Whapamagoostui, Eastmain and Oujé-Bougoumou.

The program is the brainchild of EEPF managers, who want to diminish the teenage idleness that can lead to petty crime. By providing the youth an opportunity to learn firsthand from EEPF officers, the program not only has the potential to reduce crime but to usher in the next generation of police officers.

The cadet program is aimed at involving local youth in social activities to help them develop a sense of citizenship. The cadet program will at first recruit 15- and 16-year-olds and open up to 14-year-olds in the future.

During their time in the program the cadets will be put into the field to learn from their mentoring officers and actively engage with their local community. Though cadets will not be involved with actual law enforcement activities, they will become familiar with the inner workings of the police station by providing service on the front counter and assisting with department supplies. The cadets will be given a safe initiation to firearms along with CPR and swim training.

The new program is an opportunity for high school students who wish to gain a better understanding of their society and help their community. It will also help connect the youth with the police officers and emergency workers by demystifying security professions.

The program is a path to employment with the EEPF, where they can serve as surveillance or provide security during social events. In the long term, cadets may one day become full-fledged law-enforcement officers as they learn what it means to serve and protect their community.