The Police Explorer Program – a Great Opportunity for Kids

Otter’s Police Explorer Uniform

Today I want to share some information about the Police Explorers program. Otter has had such a GREAT experience with it. Not only has he learned a lot, he’s also blossomed as a young man and the program has helped cement his decision to become a police (or CHP) officer after graduation.

Otter is a member of the local Police Explorers program and also the CHP Explorer’s Program (California Highway Patrol). Between the two programs he is well on his way to learning and experiencing a multitude of things that will help him be more successful in his future career choice. Not only is he learning future work skills, he’s also honing his character with a number of directly involved mentors (police & CHP officers) who are looking out for his best interests and his development as a contributing, wholesome, trustworthy and hardworking member of our community.

Some of the things he’s learned about and participated in (or will get to participate in):

  • memorized radio, penal and vehicle codes
  • participated in D.U.I. checkpoints
  • Observed arrests for and is learning about domestic violence in all its nuances (from verbal to assaultive)
  • learned how to identify and test for alcohol  & drug intoxication
  • learned about drugs, drug identification, symptoms of drug abuse & use, different types of drug paraphernalia and the effects of drugs & alcohol
  • has participated in many ride-alongs with police officers and witnessed arrests, jail booking, ticketing, etc.
  • Learned handcuff techniques
  • Has and will learn safety procedures
  • Has and will continue to participate in community service projects such as serving first responders at police and fire recognition dinners, collecting recyclables at a fundraiser, etc.
  • Learned accident scene procedures
  • will get to help CHP officers write tickets
  • will get to be a “narc” in a buy-bust – where explorers not in uniform try to buy cigarettes,  spray paint, and other substances that it’s illegal for minors to purchase and/or possess, etc.
  • will get to shoot firearms in a safe and supervised manner at the police range
  • will get to learn first aid skills
  • is working on drills and marching (CHP)
  • will get to direct traffic
  • Is and will continue to learn and work on self discipline, having a professional manner, attention to detail, and other good work and character habits
  • ETC. – there is too much to mention!!!

The program is open to young men and women ages 14 to 20 (or older for some programs like the CHP program) and the participation fee runs from $15 to $25 per year, not including uniform costs (which can vary from program to program).  Do be aware that the programs require an extensive background investigation to ensure “applicants meet the quality and character standards required”. Otter loves being identified with the “good guys” and when other kids have called him names like “goody-goody”, etc. he’s taken that as a badge of honor instead of an insult.

Otter at the scene of a minor accident while on a ride-along. It helps to have a dad who’s a photojournalist to catch you in action! My mom’s heart is so proud to see my boy decked out in his uniform learning how to go after the “bad guys”!

From the official site:

The majority of the community programs are managed by local police departments, including Sheriffs, Chiefs of Police, and State Police. In addition, many federal agencies offer their support. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), Federal Air Marshal Service, US Army Military Police, US Customs and Border Protection Service, US Marshals Service, US Postal Inspection Service, and US Secret Service provide national programs, scholarships, workshops, and literature.

Otter is super excited about getting to attend a special CHP Explorer academy based off of the real CHP training academy (check out how they get to drive on the skid pans!!) when he’s older (see the video posted below). He’s also happy though to do whatever is asked of him, from the very mundane (like cleaning and organizing a closet or cleaning up a police firearms target range) to the really exciting and fun (going on ride-alongs)!

The Law Enforcement Explorers program is a great opportunity for young people to do and reminds me of a jr. apprenticeship. Terrific life and work skills are learned, even if a child decides on a different career in the future.

You can find out more about the program at the official nationwide website! It would be wonderful to have more homeschoolers participating in this worthwhile and character building program!

Between Boy Scouts, the Explorers programs and other activities, Otter is having a great time and learning so much! We consider these activities an important extracurricular part of our homeschool experience!