The Los Angeles Police Department’s cadet program, which enrolls more than 2,000 local youths, recently had a scandal involving cadets, stolen police cars, and illicit sex involving a 15-year-old cadet. Despite this recent scandal, the department’s written manual governing contact between cadets and adults has not been updated in over a decade. The scandal shed some light on deficiencies both in the cadet program and in how the LAPD keeps track of its cars and other equipment. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has ordered a top-to-bottom review of the cadet program in response to the scandal, which saw former LAPD Officer Robert Cain being charged with sexually assaulting a minor. Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander stated,
There are clearly major flaws and problems and holes in the system that have to be corrected immediately.
Chief Beck has not explained how Cain, who worked the equipment room at the 77th Street LAPD station was able to befriend the 15-year-old girl or exactly what role Cain played in the equipment thefts. Cain has also been charged with 10 felony counts related to some of the weapons found at his home after investigators found more than 100 firearms, including illegally modified assault rifles there. According to a department spokesman, LAPD officials are still investigating the incident and do not believe that any other officers were directly involved and have not taken steps to discipline supervisors who oversaw Cain or the cadet program. Chief Beck has issued a department-wide directive forbidding most one-on-one contact between police officers and youth program participants, restricting social media contact to necessary business, and prohibiting youths from driving LAPD vehicles. More oversight is needed to ensure that no other misconduct will happen with the LAPD and with the cadet program.