IT'S a one-two whammy against crime as 30 new cadets train to patrol Winnipeg streets, just weeks before a new police helicopter patrols from the sky.
Politicians and policing officials were all smiles Monday as cadet trainees kicked off their first day of studies at the Winnipeg Police Service training academy on Allard Avenue.
The first 30 cadets -- who will be based downtown and trained in the use of batons and pepper spray -- will help police with basic duties like guarding crime scenes.
They'll do about eight weeks of inside training and then spend six weeks on the streets getting a feel for the job. The cadet corps will be bolstered by another 20 cadets later in 2011.
"We want to have our officers out there doing what they should be doing," said WPS Chief Keith McCaskill, who said he's "really excited" about the cadet program.
"(With) cadets as members of our Winnipeg Police Service, we're going to be able to do a lot more. That's what it's all about."
By his side stood two cadet trainees, Darrel Manoosingh, 42, and Erin Beaudry, 25.
Beaudry, a former paramedic student, said one day she'd like to be a police officer.
"I just think it's a very good stepping stone," said Beaudry.
Members of the first class -- who have a starting wage of $12 per hour -- will complete training in early January.
Police say the police helicopter should be operational by the end of October.
Mayor Sam Katz said the cadet program is the "first of its kind in Canada."
Cadets will wear royal-blue uniforms and carry portable radios.
Katz, who has built his upcoming run for mayor around anti-crime initiatives like adding 58 police officers, said public safety is the "No. 1 priority" of Winnipeggers.
"We've talked about how we want to make sure that the men and women of the WPS are out there policing, and making sure they're keeping our city safe," said Katz. He said there were about 200 applications for the cadet positions.
Provincial Justice Minister Andrew Swan called the cadet training program a "milestone" for the WPS.