PAL Law Enforcement Cadets

Two women in leis and uniform with their family

Cadet Graduates Celebrating

How Do I Apply?

Consider attending an information session prior to submitting your application: Thursday, March 13th from 6:00pm-7:00pm or Saturday, March 15th from 10:30am-11:30am at the San Francisco Police Academy, 350 Amber Drive, San Francisco

Complete the online application with all necessary attachments by 5:00pm April 4th, 2014  to be considered for the 2014 Summer Cadet Academy. Important note: the online application cannot be partially completed or saved. Please read and review this information page and the full application page before you begin. You will need to allow plenty of time to fill out the application completely before you submit to SFPAL.

College Night for SFPAL Cadets

Cadets and their family members listening to advice

What is the PAL Cadet Program?

The SFPAL Law Enforcement Cadet Program is a collaborative effort of the San Francisco Police Activities League (SFPAL) and the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). Since 1959 the PAL Cadet Program has provided opportunities for growth, leadership and career experience for thousands of San Francisco youth — including many who have chosen to pursue law enforcement or public service careers.

Applicants to the PAL Summer Cadet Academy must participate in the program for at least one full year. PAL Cadets can continue in the program for as long as they wish until they reach 21 years.

Teamwork out on the Road

Teamwork out on the Road

How do the Parts of Program Fit Together?

  • 4-week Summer Cadet Academy: June 16  to July 11, 2014, 9:00am-3:00pm (closed for the holiday on July 4th).
  • Year-round internship program: at SFPD stations or bureaus (approximately 6-8 hours per month). Graduates of the 4-week Summer Cadet Academy will be placed in an internship at an SFPD District Station and/or SFPD Bureau. Through these internships, PAL Cadets will have the opportunity to gain job and career skills in a structured environment supervised by police officers and will participate in police ride-alongs, help at SFPD district station community events, and assist with SFPD station activities as requested. Once a part of the program, participants can continue after the specified year commitment as long as they are in good standing and eligible or until age 21.
  • Ongoing training and community service:  Approximately three Thursdays each month, Cadets meet at the Police Academy for additional training and learning oportunities.  Additionally, Cadets can volunteer to work alongside SFPD at community events and ceremonies during the week and on the weekends.

Two cadets discussing a patient dummy

How Can I Learn More About the Program?

To learn more about the cadet program or answer any questions prior to submitting your application, you are invited to attend one of these information sessions at the San Francisco Police Academy, 350 Amber Drive in San Francisco :

  • Thursday, March 13th from 6:00pm-7:00pm
  • Saturday, March 15th from 10:30am-11:30am
Cadets, laughing in hard hats, at a Ropes Course

Cadets at a Ropes Course

What Will I Get Out of the Program?

PAL Cadets receive training modeled after the basic training academy for new police recruits. You’ll be taught by SFPD Police Academy training staff. The program is designed to give you an enhanced hands-on job skills and leadership development experience through proper preparation and training. You will:

  • Engage in program activities centered on the five emphasis areas of the Learning for Life/Explorer program that include:
    • Career opportunities and job skills development;
    • Life skills;
    • Citizenship;
    • Character education;
    • Leadership experience.
  • Experience positive leadership from adult and youth leaders and have the opportunity to take on leadership roles.
  • Have a chance to learn and grow in a fun, supportive and caring environment.
  • Gain practical experience and knowledge about careers in law enforcement and public service.

In addition to classroom training you will be required to perform significant physical training as part of the Summer Academy and subsequent trainings. You should be in good physical condition and are expected to have prepared and trained to get in shape on their own prior to the Summer Academy.

A cadet laughs at a screen displaying her crashed windshield and an accident on the virtual road

Do I Qualify (Eligibility)?

  • Age 14-20
  • Able participate in the program from June 2014 to May 2015
  • Reside or attend school in San Francisco
  • Must complete an San Francisco Police Department background check (criminal history and driving record, if applicable)
  • Be currently enrolled as a student in a high school or college program
  • Have and maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher


In safety gear and supporting each other, a team navigates the woods

Teamwork through tough times!

How Are Cadets Selected?

  • Meet all eligibility requirements above
  • Must commit to participate in the PAL Cadet program for at least a full year (June 2014-May 2015). You can stay in the program and advance for as many years as you wish and as long as you remain eligible
  • Commitment to program goals and requirements
  • Personal statement and recommendations