Portsmouth Police Cadets Return After 3 Years With No Program

Do you have an interest in law enforcement? If so, look into being a police cadet.

Portsmouth Police Cadets Return After 3 Years With No Program

Abigail Nersesian, PaperClip Staff/Writer

Portsmouth Police Department has the Explorers program dedicated to young people who want to make a future for themselves in law enforcement. The program is for anyone between the ages of 14 and 21, and you don’t have to be a resident of Portsmouth to participate. We meet one day per week, usually a weeknight evening, at Portsmouth Police Department. We also get together throughout the year to support certain community events.

The cadet program began in 1999 and went strong for over 20 years, but was paused in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID, before returning in February of 2022. It was around that time when I saw a Facebook post advertising the program’s return. 

Knowing that I had an interest in law enforcement as a future career, I decided to check to see if it was a fit for me. I knew immediately that I made the right choice as the advisors and other cadets welcomed me in and the program was exactly what I was looking for. I loved the idea of learning the various laws (RSA’s), and then being able to practice that knowledge through scenario based situations. I’ve gained so much experience in this past year because of the cadet program, and I’m thankful to have been a part of it. 

There are a few other cadet programs throughout New Hampshire, including the Nashua Police Explorers, Manchester Police Explorers and Rochester Police Explorers. 

The Nashua Police Explorers state on their website, “…the program promotes personal growth through character development, respect for the rule of law, physical fitness, good citizenship and patriotism.” 


I believe this stands true through all cadet programs. The main goal of becoming a police cadet is to become a better police officer, while also becoming a better person. 

During my time as a cadet I’ve not only gained knowledge about police work, but also morals and ethics. Police officers play a crucial role in serving the community, both with enforcing the laws and being role models for the younger generations. 

“Agencies were experiencing a success rate of between 80 and 100 percent for cadets who went on to become sworn police officers,” according to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service.

This program impacts your future positively and essentially gives you a leg up in the law enforcement field. “This results in better educated police officers in the years to come,” stated by the U.S Department of Justice. 

As part of the Portsmouth Police Explorers program, we volunteer a

s much as possible to keep a positive presence within the community and try to recruit candidates to keep the program strong.

I have truly made some of the best relationships while being a Portsmouth Police cadet. The advisors, Will Mahoney and TJ Potter, care for not only the program, but the cadets as well. Their experience in the field translates into their teaching in the classroom. They demonstrate  exemplary police work, and I strive to be like them. 

I occasionally get asked if being the only female cadet bothers me and I quickly respond, no. My fellow cadets are the most caring, dedicated and respectful people I know. We learn from each other, and I am so grateful to have them by my side.

I plan on staying with the Portsmouth Police Cadet Program until I age out. I make the best memories during those three hour meetings, and frankly could not ask for better people to be with. We have Portsmouth Police Cadets in college who still choose to come back whenever they can, which should tell you something about how extraordinary this program really is.