They come from all walks of life, some with policing experience, others not—including an accountant who realized he wanted to change careers and embark on a life of public service. One recalled a time in his life when he was encouraged not to interact with police.
Seven cadets make up the new class of recruits at the University of Colorado Boulder Police Department. They will eventually join two newly sworn CUPD officers who joined the department in recent months.
“These cadets are the embodiment of the CU Boulder community,'' said Assistant Vice Chancellor for Public Safety and Chief of Police Doreen Jokerst, noting the new class will help uphold CUPD’s mission, which in part aspires to develop a stronger partnership with the greater campus community.
Goals include improving the overall safety and quality of life for students, faculty, staff and campus visitors through fair and impartial, transparent and consistent policing, said Jokerst.
The cadets are currently going through CUPD’s “mini-academy,” learning important information specific to CU Boulder such as campus geography and how university police and emergency managers respond to critical events and share best practices with students, faculty and staff.
“The CUPD mini-academy helps recruits become familiar with resources intentionally designed to provide enhanced services to the CU Boulder community,” said Jokerst.
Those resources include CUPD”s embedded victim advocate and embedded licenced clinician, positions that may operate slightly differently than in municipal police departments.
In addition, cadets will be trained in the department’s policies on use of force in volatile situations, including ICAT, or Integrating Communication, Assessment and Tactics—negotiating skills, crisis response and safety tactics—and how to conduct a lethality assessment and trauma-informed interview to avoid retraumatizing victims of crime.
Trainee Gad Israel said while growing up in South Florida, he was encouraged by his community to avoid the police. But a critical incident changed his mind.
“When I was about 13 years old, I saved my sister from being kidnapped by a man in our neighborhood…We ran home and called our mom, then the police. I was able to give information that helped lead to an arrest,” he recalled. “After that, I was called a ‘snitch’ by people in the neighborhood. I vowed to put fear aside and to try and help whenever I see a problem.”
Israel, a father of seven, said CUPD teaches the same values he’s trying to instill in his own children, and he was impressed by the department’s commitment to the 30x30 pledge. Israel comes to CUPD from the Denver Sheriff’s Department, having worked at the Denver City Jail.
New recruit Jesse Stewart worked as an accountant before deciding to switch careers.
“I joined CUPD because I wanted a small agency that believes in the future of policing,” Stewart said. He was also attracted to getting out from behind his desk to work in a campus environment with a student, faculty and staff population.
Jigme Dorjee, who comes to CUPD with more than a decade of experience in youth correction and working with those experiencing mental health crises, said CUPD’s values matched his own. “I want to help others, to be a guardian to others and protect the sanctity and rights of all lives.”
Jokerst said the recruiting class adds to CUPD’s dynamic corps of employees with diverse backgrounds and unique skill sets. “We truly believe that the diversity of our team members helps to improve every interaction with the CU Boulder and broader community, and we feel that our differences enrich the department and the university as a whole.”
Expect to see the new officers patrolling campus early next year, once they have attended police academy and become Colorado POST certified.