Pride Platoon

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IECN photo Marina Rojas: Students in grades 8 - 12 are invited to participate in the Rialto Police Department’s 14-week Pride Platoon program. From left: Lt. Dean Hardin, Program Director, Jeanette Lopez, Program Administrator, Sgt. Cameron Nelson and Lt. Rob Smith.

The Rialto Police Department (RPD) is offering students in grades 8 to 12 a once-in-a-lifetime deal:  Give us 14 weeks and we’ll give you focus, direction and leadership skills in return.

Talking to a group of parents and students, Sgt. Cameron Nelson explained the RPD’s Pride Platoon goals while offering a glimpse into the 14-week curriculum of the program.  Designed to bring out the best in each student willing to dedicate the 91 days by exploring what the agenda has to offer, the Pride Platoon helps students as a team, and on a one-on-one basis.

Nelson stated that, “Pride Platoon is the cornerstone of the Police Department.  Our young people are an important aspect of the quality of life in our city, and we develop life-long relationships with them and give them tools to deal with life situations that will stay with them forever.”

Pride Platoon students attend classes, get career guidance, do community service, participate in physical training and go on field trips.  After successfully completing the 14 week-program, they graduate in the presence of local dignitaries and their new support team that includes officers of the Rialto Police Department and fellow graduates.

“The program began about six years ago in Rialto when Joe Baca Jr. asked former Rialto Police Chief Mark Kling about implementing a program for our teens,” said Lt. Dean Hardin, Pride Platoon Program Director. “It’s a program that has proven to be an asset to the city in making a long-term bridge of success for our teens.”

There are only two requirements for the program:  1) The student must either live in the city of Rialto or go to school in the Rialto Unified School District (grades 8-12), and 2) Parents or guardians must attend an informational meeting to hear the program itinerary and get the enrollment packet in person.

Jeanette Lopez, Program Administrator, encourages students and their parents to call 909-820-2621 to attend a meeting as soon as possible, as class capacity is limited.  More information is available at http://www.rialtopd.com/index.php/community/bootcamp.

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