CFOT officers and cadets serve during protest

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Crestmont campus becomes staging area for Sheriff’s deputies.

Salvation Army officers and cadets at the College for Officer Training (CFOT) at Crestmont returned to active emergency/disaster service (EDS) duty ahead of a scheduled June 6 Black Lives Matter protest in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. The Crestmont campus, along with nearby Marymount California University campus, provided staging areas for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; up to 200 deputies were expected to be in the area. 

“We are on EDS deployment of officers and cadets here at Crestmont,” said CFOT Assistant Training Principal Major Rubina Navarro, who was overseeing the day’s activities. “We just got this news Thursday afternoon. Meanwhile, the second-year cadets are moving into their finals week, next week, and there are about two more weeks to go for the first years. So, a lot is going on but we’re very excited for the privilege to be able to have this opportunity to serve and shine for Christ.”

The Sheriff’s Department contacted The Salvation Army June 4, asking if the campus could be made available to deputies during the protest. Army leaders agreed, transitioning the College into EDS mode, preparing canteens and issuing assignments to officers and cadets. Plans included providing food services for deputies, the use of campus rest rooms and meeting rooms, and offering water and prayer among protestors close to campus at locations identified by the Sheriff’s Department. Officers and cadets on the protest route would also have available The Salvation Army’s position statements on racism, highlighting the Army’s commitment to loving and compassionate service to all without discrimination, and providing an opportunity to show what The Salvation Army is all about.

The College set up two canteens at 6 a.m. June 6, when deputies began arriving. With one canteen on campus and the other at Marymount University, both ends of the proposed protest route—a distance of over five miles—were covered. The protest situation was fluid and deputies waited to see how events would transpire. Protestors were expected to gather at Rancho Palos Verdes City Hall, next to CFOT, all the way to Trump National Golf Course, near Marymount.

“The Salvation Army is happy to be serving without discrimination in our community in all facets—for those who are protesting for the rights of others and for those who are protecting those protestors. We are here for all in the name of Jesus Christ,” said Captain Jared Arnold, CFOT Director of Business Administration, who served at the Marymount location.

The cadets were happy for the unexpected opportunity to serve the community.

“I’m excited to be here to show the love of Christ to both the officers and to those who are standing up for others,” said first-year Cadet Adrianne Sherman. “It’s a cool, unique opportunity to be able to love on both sides…Today it’s not just about giving a cup of cold water or coffee, or even a doughnut, it’s about serving others in Jesus’ name.”

As the morning hours passed, people congregated at Trump National Golf Course and along that stretch of Palos Verdes Drive, the main road. Plans were revised, and the focus shifted from the City Hall location to the Marymount University staging area.

The College’s cooperation with law enforcement and its ability to quickly respond boosts The Salvation Army’s relationship with the Sheriff’s Department. 

“They know they can call on us if they need us,” said CFOT Training Principal Major Nigel Cross. “And we know we can do it.”

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