The largest number of college-ready cadets in recent years entered an NYPD program Friday — traditionally a route for future department brass — that offers tuition and other incentives in exchange for a commitment they’ll enter the police academy after earning a four-year degree.
“The reason why I love this program is the cadets tend to come up through the ranks,” said First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker, adding that former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly started his long NYPD career in the program.
The 327 cadets are either college-bound high school seniors or students already enrolled and pursuing a degree.
To stay in the program, cadets must maintain a 2.0 grade- point average. After college graduation they are accepted into the police academy.
In a 15-minute low-key ceremony at One Police Plaza in Manhattan Friday afternoon, Police Commissioner William Bratton swore in the cadets as other high-ranking NYPD officials looked on.
The cadets, who attend colleges across the city as well as Nassau and Westchester counties, will work part-time in the NYPD while in college and receive up to $20,000 in tuition aid spread out across their four-year college enrollment, officials said.
Tucker said the program is “critical to our recruitment effort. It’s a natural pipeline for the department.”
He also said the cadets are a reflection of New York City, representing 37 countries and speaking 39 languages.
While in college, cadets will work part-time doing desk work at One Police Plaza and other NYPD locations to get a “bird’s eye view of what it is like to work at a precinct,” Tucker said.
They also will be assigned to public housing precincts and at the transit department, he said.
In the summer the cadets will work full-time.
Steven Abreu, 20, of the Bronx, will attend John Jay College of Criminal Justice in the fall. Abreu said he applied for the cadet program after participating in his neighborhood Police Athletic League’s after-school program where he played sports and did his homework.
“I was eight years old then,” Abreu said after he was sworn in with the other cadets. “I hope to become a police officer and serve my community which served me and helped me stay out of trouble.”