Paul Costantini / Mason LIFE student and Fourth Estate intern
Have you ever wondered how George Mason University keeps its campus safe and in order? You can thank the University Department of Police & Public Safety, in conjunction with the Student Cadet Program, which was launched in 2003 to assist in providing safety, security and faithful service to members of the campus community.
The George Mason University Campus Police first formed in 1972 when then Governor A. Linwood Holton Jr. signed a legislation making it a four year university separating it from the University of Virginia. Today, the Mason Police Department has over 50 officers now surrounding the campus, along with nearly 30 student cadets.
Cadets are typically student wage employees who are non-sworn personnel and lack the authority to arrest and detain. Cadets are required to participate in an extensive 102-hour training program designed by veteran law enforcement agents to ensure the highest levels of safety and professionalism. Candidates for the cadet program must pass a rigorous background investigation to be eligible for employment.
Besides assisting with the influx of commuters by providing traffic control, cadets are also responsible for locking and unlocking doors, performing campus area escorts, reporting hazardous conditions on campus and acting as the eyes and ears for crime prevention and overall safety for the Mason community.
Although it is challenging to be a student cadet there are some lasting benefits. For example, cadets receive flexible schedules based around their course work, which allows them to first and foremost focus on their education. Furthermore, it is a resume builder for future employment and empowers these young men and women to be leaders both in the classroom and the community. Cadets also receive an hourly stipend of 10 dollars for their work.
“The cadet program has been a really great experience for me,” said senior Alicia Atkins. “In the short amount of time that I’ve been here I’ve learned so much that will be helpful to me in both life and my future career. It’s been an important stepping stone in helping me figure out exactly what I want to do with my life.”
Featured image: Claire Cecil / Fourth Estate
(Editor’s note: Fourth Estate has worked with the Mason LIFE program every semester since our founding to bring aboard their students as interns who work on writing and reporting over the course of a semester. We are happy to support program’s purpose to “provide a supportive academic environment for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”)