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Explorer Program gives youth birds-eye view to law enforcement careers

The Colleton County Explorers Program is underway at the Sheriff’s Office, allowing local teens to gain hands-on experience in the challenging field of law enforcement.
The program is offered through the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, and encourages teens to become part of something positive within the community. This program gives qualifying youth the opportunity to learn about various parts of law enforcement, and what their job entails.
Teens are able to participate in this program until they reach 21 years in age.
Then, if the volunteer Explorer has a desire to pursue a law enforcement career they will be considered to join the Sheriff’s Office and be sent for training at the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy.
“If they choose to go into the academy at that point, this program will help them be successful,” said Shalane Lowes, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office. Lowes assisted in writing the curriculum for the local program and to structure it, using deputies in the Sheriff’s Office to serve as instructors and positive role models to those teen Explorers. “When we have community events those in the Explorers Program will be paired with an active deputy assisting deputies as needed, and be an extension of the Sheriff’s Office,” she said.
Because they are considered a part of the Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Strickland says the Explorers do have to abide by guidelines. These guidelines include parameters on their appearance, their grades, their behaviors and their attitude. “We do cover all topics of law enforcement, from the courtroom to active shooter drills, routine traffic stops to crime scene and forensics,” said Strickland. “We want those youth who are interested in law enforcement to get a full scope of what we do, and to become invested in their career early.
“This program gives youth who want to go into the military or join law enforcement a head start, with hands-on information and learning,” said Strickland.
Those in the program will also do fundraisers, to help pay for portions of the program. According to Lowes, there is a $50 per Explorer annual fee. Initially, this fee will be paid out of each Explorer’s pocket, she said; however, money earned from fundraisers and through the Sheriff’s Office budget will help cover all costs associated with Explorers’ uniforms and activities.
There are currently about six youth in the Explorers Program, as of press deadline this week.
Any student can sign up for the Explorer Program. However, to qualify, students must have grades no lower than a 70 on their report cards in order to participate. Even though the Explorers Program began at the start of the school year, in August, Lowes said the program is ongoing and Explorers can be accepted at any time.
For more information on the program, or to join, call 843-549-221, ext. 2021.

Heather Walters (1568 Posts)