JOHNSTON, Iowa — Forty-eight cadets across six states competed in a first-of-its-kind national marksmanship competition. The competition was held at Camp Dodge and hosted by Public Safety Cadets, a national nonprofit with the mission to mentor young adults interested in law enforcement careers.
“We want to, you know, break down any walls and barriers and give them the truth. Here’s what it’s really like…and then the good and the bad,” said president of the Public Safety Cadets Kent Jefferies.
Participants were also exposed to dynamic police training activities which included the different tools law enforcement uses for both lethal and non lethal force. Cadets also sat in on a seminar with law enforcement executives, creating an open conversation about the realities of careers in public safety.
“We want to, you know, break down any walls and barriers and give them the truth,” said Jefferies. “Here’s what it’s really like. And then the good and the bad. There’s there’s a lot of challenges in law enforcement today. It’s shift work, and it’s being away from your family, and it’s seeing human beings at their worst.”
Among the diverse group, were also local cadets from the Polk County Sheriff’s office and the Des Moines Police Department.
“It’s definitely a very good learning opportunity. And kind of gets you to see what the life is as a law enforcement officer and see how they act behind the scenes versus just a traffic stops or calls that you see there’s definitely a lot more of it than just that,” said Polk County Cadet Logan Scott.
The outcome of the program is different for everyone, but Jefferies says that’s the goal.
“At the end of the day, this is about creating an opportunity to have a conversation with cops and kids. If they don’t go into law enforcement, that’s great. They will have experienced some leadership, civic mindedness, [and] citizenship.”