Beck defends LAPD cadet program at graduation while planning overhaul

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Scandal rocking the Los Angeles Police Department cadet program triggered unprecedented changes to Saturday's graduation ceremony, where at least 1,000 students attended.

For the first time ever, LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck held an inspection of the cadets, as they walked up to him two-by-two and he looked them in the eyes.

"I want them to see the chief and look the chief in the eye and know that I care about their future and I care about their present," Beck said.

Beck said he wants to overhaul the program - not get rid of it - and the inspection is the first step in that direction.

MORE: Cache of weapons found inside LAPD officer's home in cadet scandal

One of the incidents creating a black cloud over the program was the arrest of seven cadets last week. They're accused of stealing police cruisers, and two of the squad cars ended up crashed after officers spotted them and chased the drivers.

MORE: LAPD cadets arrested after theft of police vehicles

In addition, police raided the home of 31-year-old LAPD Officer Robert Cain this week, where they found a cache of nearly 100 weapons, including modified assault rifles. Cain is accused of having sex with one of the arrested cadets - a 15-year-old girl.

MORE: LAPD officer arrested for alleged sex with 15-year-old cadet

Although Cain wasn't in direct contact with the cadets, he was in charge of equipment at the 77th Division LAPD station.
Despite the scandal rocking the program, many parents at Saturday's graduation ceremony said it was a good experience for their children.

"Overall I think the cadet program is a great program to keep children out of trouble," said Karina Hernandez, whose daughter graduated the cadet program. "I can't explain why other children chose to do what they did."

Alisha Enriquez, a graduating cadet, said she was thankful for the program.

"This program is needed because it teaches us kids a lot of our responsibility," Enriquez said. "Without it, I don't know what I would do."

LAPD Capt. Lillian Carranza stood up for the hundreds of cadets graduating and hundreds more who are enrolled in the program.

"The actions of one are not an actual reflection of the other 10,000 officers," she said.
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