APD cadets spend Friday learning about Austin cultures

It's been part of Austin Police cadet training since 2003.  The Community Immersion Program.  Senior police officer and cadet instructor Vance Debes explains.

"We need to be the kind of police officers that when we show up on the scene and somebody's in crisis, be it they're Asian, Hispanic, African American, LGBT whatever it be, if we have a better understanding of their culture and their community then we will better understand how to serve them," Debes said.

On Friday morning the cadets heard presentations from the Asian-American Resource Center and the Nueces Mosque where fallen officer Amir-Abdul Khaliq attended.
Officers listened and asked questions.

At the Mosque, cadets learned about some of the religious characteristics of the Muslim community. 

"We will avert our eyes from a person of the opposite gender and we also avoid any physical contact like shaking hands and we also like to wear clothing that is a spiritual act of worship for us," said Kirk Sexton with the Nueces Mosque.

"The Mosque -- personally, I appreciated that.  My father's Iranian.  So I'm a little more familiar with the Muslim culture," said cadet Ross Adeli from Tuscon, Arizona.

Adeli says he and his fellow cadets are 14 weeks into the training.  He values what he's learning through community immersion.

"Anything that can make my job easier and make other people feel respected and appreciated," Adeli said.

Over the last few years, police officer recruitment has been down all over the country.  It's a tough time to be a police officer .  But Adeli says he wants to be that change he wants to see.

"It's definitely a tough time to come in right now but ultimately I think it's my calling, I mean I want to go out there and represent the community.  I want to go out there and make an impact.  So I see a lot of negative things going on and I want to be the positive and I want to change that," Adeli said.

Friday afternoon the cadets visited the Carver Center and the Mexican Consulate.

They will graduate on June 23rd.

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