The Richmond Hill Police Department is in the process of starting up a free program for kids ages 14-20. It is called the Explorer program, and Explorer Post Commander and RHPD Sgt. Jason Sakelarios said the program is designed to give young people an inside look at police work.
The Explorer program is slated to get started on Monday, March 31, with a meeting at the police station to explain what the program is all about. Sign-ups will take place at that time as well.
"With this program, we’re looking to provide a safe learning environment for kids to learn and discover the many facets of law enforcement to see if it’s something they’d like to do when they grow up. This gives them a chance to see what really goes on in the department. A daily shift is not like a 30 minute episode of COPS. There’s a lot more to it. Even if it’s not a career goal, kids are welcome to join in just for fun. We’ve got a lot of stuff lined up and it’s shaping up to be a really exciting program."
Sakelarios said it will tap into most of the different aspects of police work such as patrol, traffic enforcement, crime scene investigation, firearms handling and safety and search and seizure. Activities will range from a mock crime scene investigation to field trips to various community service projects.
Sakelarios said Explorer is a national program that many communities across the country have started up in their individual areas. Not all of them are law enforcement-based. He said there are also some run by firefighter and EMS departments. Like the girls or boys scouts programs, there are awards programs involved in Explorers. Sakelarios said there are also scholarship opportunities for those who excel in the program.
Sakelarios has enlisted several of his co-workers in the RHPD to help with the program, such as Explorer Deputy Post Commander and RHPD Sgt. Luke Harris who is helping him put this program together.
"Each officer that we’ve enlisted to be adult leaders in the Explorer program has a different area of expertise to share with the group," Sakelarios said. "For example, Cpl. Susan Willis has experience in bicycle patrol and safety diving and will be teaching about the challenges that she encounters in those areas."
Take-home information packets will be handed out at Monday’s meeting and there will be another meeting in April. For more information, call Sakelarios at 756-2714 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.