Cadet Finds Fulfillment at Glendale College


READY TO HELP: Glendale Community College police cadet Nicholas Allen gives out warnings to parked cars in the loading zone in front of the school during the first week of classes.

Dustin Rivera, El Vaquero Staff Writer

For police cadet Nicholas Allen, “Excellence Through Education” isn’t simply the motto on the police vehicles he uses on a daily basis, but it’s an ideal that he and the Glendale Community College Police Department strive to achieve.

On track to receive his associates degree in the spring, Allen balances class with two 16-hour shifts a week patrolling the campus. The GCC police department helps to coordinate its cadets’ work schedule around their class schedule to ensure cadets such as Allen can continue their education.

When Allen first started in the cadet program as an 18-year-old, he encountered some issues with operating one of the most integral tools of the job, the radio.

“When I first started out I was a nervous stutterer when I talked over the radio. It’s gotten a lot better since then though,” Allen said

His daily tasks involve operating the radio as well as patrolling the campus.

One part of his patrol is checking cars across GCC’s 2,000 parking spaces for parking violations. But to Allen giving tickets for parking violations is a means to an end.

“I would rather give out warnings instead of tickets, but in my experience tickets make more of an impact,” he said.

The ability to issue tickets is only one of many tools that the cadets on campus use to help protect and serve the students and faculty on campus. A means of enlightening the violators to their errors and to keep the other people on the campus safe.

A self described “normal guy,” he spends free time with his girlfriend and playing video games with friends. Those who know Allen say being a cadet fits.

“It really speaks to his personality. He likes doing the right thing, being responsible,” Allen’s close friend Justin Porchas said.

Porchas and Allen have been friends for 11 years and played little league baseball together while attending Mount Gleason Middle School in Sunland, Calif.

“He’s the kind of friend that if you call him he’ll be there,” said Porchas.

Being a part of the cadet program has given Allen a sense of fulfillment, not from the gratitude of his peers, but from the self satisfaction of helping to protect his fellow students and the love of law enforcement.

Allen’s love of law enforcement stems from having three uncles as members of the Los Angeles Police Department and from the action film “S.W.A.T.” (2003) starring Colin Farrell.

“I was a freshman in high school when “S.W.A.T’ came out and it kind of solidified it for me,” Allen said. “I wanted to join S.W.A.T.”

Even though Allen has grown older, his interests have drifted from S.W.A.T. to the K-9 side of law enforcement, Allen’s love of his job has remained steadfast.

“Any job in law enforcement is 80 percent paperwork and working as a cadet is a great way for people to find out if they love the job,” said Allen.

Allen has high goals for his future.

“Hopefully in five years I will have my bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and be a part of the LAPD,” he said.

Chinese philosopher Confucius said “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

“I have never worked a day in my life,” said Allen.