New police cadets ready to hit the streets

The newest Keizer Police cadets graduated on March 22. From left: Officer Scott Keniston, Chief John Teague, Hailey Toornsta, Yanice Barajas, Samuel Holt, Jocelyn (resigned), Cole Steel, Lt. Andrew Copeland and Dectective Jay Prall.

The Keizer Police Department welcomed four new cadets who passed the Cadet Police Academy, hosted by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office with Keizer, in March.

Yanice Barajas, 18, Samuel Holt, 17, Hailey Toornstra, 17 and Cole Steele, 14 all have an interest in a career in law enforcement.

Barajas heard of the cadet program from school.  “I just decided to go for it and I got accepted and I love Keizer. It is just a great community overall. You get to know people better,” she said.

Holt has family members in law enforcement, including with Clackamas County Sheriff Department. “I have always been interested in the career and I wanted to get started as early as possible,” he said about why he wanted to become a cadet. He is interested in ultimately being a member of a SWAT team.

Toornstra’s enlistment in the National Guard led her to the cadet program. “I liked the aspects of it,” she said. “I thought it would be a really good career field for me because I like being in the field. I like action.” She attended a Coffee with a Cop event in Keizer; the officers encouraged her to join the program. “(I) never looked back,”  she said. “I love it here.”

The four were in Academy training from January to March, where they were exposed to different aspects of law enforcement. They learned about parole and probation. 

“We were taught practical skills like radio calls, the phonetic alphabet and military time,” said Barajas. The SWAT team gave them a demonstration, showing their gear and equipment.

“We got some practice like breaking down doors and clearing rooms,” said Toornstra. “That was my personal favorite.”

Steele got involved with the program through his mother, who is employed with the Keizer Police Department. “I’ve grown up knowing a couple of the officers,” he said. One of the officers is Scott Keninston, a cadet advisor.

Cadet training included marching. “We had to really get to know our peers,” said Barajas. “We 

were all in a team.”

“We were always like we do it as a team, no matter what. We’re all in it together.” Barajas was elected leader of the class by her cadet candidates.

The training also included examples of real-life scenarios faced by law enforcement officers. One of the most intense scenarios was a domestic violence situation.

Toornstra said domestic violence calls are one of the scariest aspects for officers that work on the streets. “You get a domestic violence call and it could be anything,” she said. “It could be walking in on anything.”

All four new cadets agreed that the program gave each of them confidence in themselves and their own abilities. Each said they would be able to deescalate a situation in their respective schools.

The cadets are required to put in 10 hours per month, which will include ride-alongs with officers and attendance at parades and public gatherings in Keizer.

Cadets were provided training on career development, officer safety and survival, special event training, and contact with the public.

The police department will utilize the assistance of cadets in areas such as crime prevention, record keeping, radio communications, traffic control at special events and telecommunications The activities are performed under the supervision of department members.