The Dover Police Department’s cadet program, announced last year by Chief of Police Paul M. Bernat, got underway this week with patrols along Loockerman Street.

The six-man unit is charged with monitoring businesses along Dover’s main street and handling low-level crimes, allowing sworn officers to patrol throughout the rest of the city.

The department has recently released a request for three additional cadets, who will be stationed at the city library and its environs.

Although not armed with handguns, the cadets carry standard police equipment including pepper spray, handcuffs, radios and stun guns. They are authorized to make arrests and to issue criminal summonses.

Bermat obtained approval for the program in 2014 after area business owners said they’d like to see a greater law enforcement presence downtown.

The cadets will work a 19-hour week, earning $12 per hour, according to department spokesman Cpl. Mark Hoffman.

The program, currently set to run for six months, is expected to cost about $51,000, which includes salaries, equipment costs and benefits. Initial funding comes from accumulated interest from two federal grants, although the department is seeking additional grants to continue the effort past its initial stages.