Attending the police academy can be very expensive for anyone not yet employed by a law enforcement agency. Beyond the tuition costs, recruits often must buy their own firearms, ammunition, uniforms, duty gear and more.
To assist academy recruits, Primary Arms announced the new Cadet Program through its Primary Arms Government division. The new program is designed to help aspiring law enforcement officers afford the firearms and other gear that they are often required to purchase upfront. The cost of attending a police academy can be steep, but this program aims to level the road a bit.
What the Cadet Program Offers
Taking a look at the Cadet Program catalog, it looks like Primary Arms is offering a wide range of gear for law enforcement cadets. The gear includes:
- body armor,
- impact weapons,
- pepper spray (O.C.),
- flashlights, and
The Cadet Program doesn’t give you an unlimited list of products from which to choose. Instead, it offers the most commonly needed law enforcement gear in the dominant brands. For example, there are only two baton choices (both from ASP) and two pepper spray choices (both Sabre.) Flashlights are limited to SureFire, Streamlight, Inforce and ASP – but these are the most common lights with which law enforcement officers will be equipped.
I doubt many cadets will be required to purchase a rifle for the academy. Nevertheless, many departments either allow or require personally owned patrol rifles. For the cadets going to one of these agencies, it would make sense to buy and train with the rifle they will carry with them after graduation.
To meet that need, Primary Arms offers a number of AR-style rifles through the Cadet Program. Rifle brands include FN and Daniel Defense. However, the only rifle optics offered are made by Primary Arms. No Trijicon, Aimpoint or EOTech options are available.
The good news is Primary Arms optics seem to be very good glass for the money. A lot of people I know speak highly of the products.
Why I Care
As a guy who was hired after I completed the police academy, I came out of pocket for all of my gear: a Glock 19 pistol, Safariland SSIII 070 holster, ASP baton, pepper spray, handcuffs, duty belt, ammo, medical gear, boots, academy uniforms and more. The cost was almost beyond my grasp.
I was a newlywed and my wife had not yet found a job. My own job wasn’t high paying so it took a lot of penny-pinching to afford everything. Fortunately, Glock offered its Blue Label program to police academy cadets and my instructors were always trying to help the class out with used gear. When I see the new Cadet Program from Primary Arms, I know someone there understands how tough it can be on new men and women trying to get into the profession.
At no point in the past have we needed honorable, duty-minded officers more than we need now. The thought of the best candidates not making it into the academy because of the equipment costs is disheartening. The Cadet Program is one source of discounted gear that cadets and academies should look to as a way to reduce the cost hurdle.