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LAPD cadet scandal: Joyrides in cruisers went on for weeks before anyone caught on

James Queally and Kate Mather, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

"You can't have cadets in uniform leaving in a patrol vehicle with so many officers around, so many officers patrolling," Carrillo said. "This would be highly noticeable the minute they drive out of the station."

The department expects to present findings about the cadet's activities to Los Angeles County prosecutors next week.

Capt. Robert Long, who heads the LAPD's Major Crimes Division, confirmed that the cadets first took a police vehicle on April 28, weeks earlier than the department had previously disclosed.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has acknowledged flaws in how the cadet program was run. The scandal led to investigations by the LAPD and its inspector general that revealed lax oversight of the cadets and training for the officers involved in the department's signature youth program. The LAPD made a series of changes, tightening supervision and training, and limiting officers' social media and phone contact with cadets.

The Times is not identifying the cadets named in the warrant because many of them were juveniles at the time of their alleged misdeeds. Those cadets either declined to comment for this article or did not respond to messages left by reporters.

The controversy exploded June 14, when three teens led police on a pair of wild car chases that ended in crashes in South L.A. In a subsequent investigation, Cain, a 10-year LAPD veteran assigned to the 77th Street station's equipment room, was arrested by Beck himself. In July, L.A. county prosecutors charged him with oral copulation of a person under the age of 16, lewd acts upon a child and unlawful sexual intercourse.

 

Cain is in jail in San Bernardino County, awaiting trial on weapons charges stemming from a search of his Rancho Cucamonga home.

In all, seven cadets were arrested and accused of taking police cars and other LAPD equipment, including Tasers, radios and a bulletproof vest. Some were also accused of stopping other drivers while in the police cars.

According to the warrant, several cadets told detectives the vehicles were used to ferry teens to and from locations where LAPD officers were present. On May 27, one cadet drove a police car to the 77th Street station, then used an unmarked police vehicle to drive several other cadets to a party for Newton Division cadets, the warrant said.

The teens also used police vehicles to drive other cadets to an event for the cadet color guard on June 8, according to the warrant. Long confirmed LAPD personnel were present at both events.

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