This year, the Salt River Police Department (SRPD) continues its long-standing tradition of the Police Explorers Program by welcoming nine new members (see sidebar). In July, the SRPD held a Police Explorers Academy welcoming youth from ages 14 to 21. The youth participated in activities and exercises teaching the importance of cooperation and teamwork in achieving goals as well as accepting individual responsibility.
“This is the first Explorers Academy, and I’m very optimistic [that] we have a great curriculum and have put together some activities that would keep [the youth] interested [in the Explorers program],” said SRPD Officer Julian Owens. “What would be rewarding for me is to see [the youth] go the distance [in regularly attending the program, so we can] have this core group of youth and promote them in the Community during events. [This way] the Community could see that we are [preparing] the next generation of police officers and have them appreciate the [Explorers] program that helps them get there.”
So far, the Explorers are perfecting their skills through drills, improving their physical conditioning, and learning a wide variety of material, including SRPD history, Community laws and procedures for crime-scene investigations. They will also gain self-discipline and self-confidence and be given the opportunity to get trained in specific police scenarios that an Explorer might see in a regional competition, such as the sniper challenge, obstacle course, SWAT fitness challenge, five-man hostage rescue team, hostage negotiations and 10-man high-risk warrant.
Later this year, the SRPD Explorers are looking forward to participating in the Community Thanksgiving Dinner, Community Pow-wow, Safety Day, Earth Day Clean-up, Shop with a Cop, and W. Steven Martin toy drive. These events will allow the Police Explorers to increase their comfort and awareness of teamwork and cooperation while meeting the needs of our Community and take pride in their work.
“Our goal is to teach and inform those individuals who are considering a career in law enforcement. For those individuals who come and join, we ask that they participate; our purpose is to make them full-fledged law-enforcement Explorers,” said SRPD Officer Anslem Flores. “In order to do that, they have to meet our criteria. They have to attend classes and have the self-discipline to achieve that.
Yes, interested youth can come in anytime during the year if [they are] interested in joining, but they have to come in with an understanding that our goal is to make them an Explorer and to enlighten them on what police work is about. Our whole purpose is to get them interested in law enforcement as a career.”
If you know any young men or women who might be interested in joining the Police Explorers Program, contact me (Detective Cendejas at (480) 362-2714 or Officer Flores or Officer Owens at Salt River High School.
“As one of the Advisors for the Police Explorers, I have great pride in connecting with our Community youth and watching them grow in a positive learning environment,” said Detective Cendejas.