91 ‘cadets’ go through Calipatria Junior Academy
Calipatria State Prison hosted their first Junior Correctional Officer Academy, giving kids a chance to learn more about their parents’ CDCR jobs.
The Nov. 22 academy was open to employees’ children ages 9-15, providing a safe and fun atmosphere for junior cadets to be exposed to some of the functions and training their parents completed.
Registration began at 7 a.m., where kids participated in the recruitment, application and interview process. Once the junior cadet was certified, they reported to Calipatria prison’s In-Service Training Classroom. They were then provided with basic information about the institution and a fundamental list of rules and regulations.
Before the academy officially started, Warden W.L. Montgomery offered encouraging words to the 91 junior cadets.
Organized into squads for Junior Academy
Junior cadets were divided into squads, by age groups, with correctional employees acting as their Company Commanders.
Each squad identified a Junior Company Commander, who led their respective squad by carrying their company’s flag. The junior academy featured two cycles. One was a tour of the institution led by the Investigative Services Unit (ISU), while the other focused on training.
During the academy, junior cadets participated in First Aid/CPR Class, provided by healthcare staff, allowing them to demonstrate their new skills on training mannequins.
ISU also provided cell search training using a replica cell crafted by carpenters from Plant Operations.
Their next training evolution was an obstacle course designed by the Calipatria/Centinela prisons’ Crisis Response Team. Each junior cadet attempted to earn the fastest time, putting their physical fitness to the test, ringing the bell at the end.
While the day began with apprehension and shyness, it quickly progressed into laugher and smiles from the junior cadets and their parents.
Throughout the day, chanting of each company motto could be heard. The day ended with graduation.
Each participant received a certificate of completion as well as awards for highest achievements.
Feedback from parents:
- “My son and I were very thankful for giving us the opportunity to create this bond and experience with each other and along with the rest of our law enforcement family,” said Correctional Counselor A. Rodriguez.
- “My girls really enjoyed the academy and said that they finally understood what I went through on a day-to-day basis,” said Correctional Sergeant J. Guzman.
- “It was nice to see the kid’s faces full of apprehension at the beginning of the academy but by the time graduation came around their faces were full of smiles and joy,” said Correctional Officer M. Sandoval.
Submitted by Lt. Efren Uribe