Frequently Asked Questions about the Explorers:
Q: What is a Police Explorer? The South Bend Police Department's Explorer Program is an extension of the Boy Scouts of America Learning For Life Program.
Q: Who can join?
The program is designed for young men and women bewteen the ages of 14 to 20 to experience first-hand how a police department functions and what it takes to get started in a challenging career in law enforcement at the local level.
Q: What does the program do?
The program, geared around law enforcement, gives youth self-confidence, discipline, and a feeling of community involvement. The youths are trained in all aspects of law enforcement- a total of 60 hours of educational training- including report writing, traffic stops, crime scene investigation, defensive tactics, firearm safety, arrest procedures, crimes in progress, etc.
Q: What does the program do in the community?
Police Explorers perform a variety of community services which is not only personally satisfying but valuable experience which is frequently asked for when applying for college. The Explorers work with the Crime Prevention Unit assisting with Neighborhood Watch programs, Mock Bank Robbery training, Graffiti paint-overs, police auction functions, Potawatami ZooBoo, Stayin' Afloat, and larger events such as National Night Out, Sunburst Marathon and other civic events, as well as fundraiser events such as Car Washes and PortAPit dinner sales.
They also help provide traffic control for home Notre Dame football weekends and through out the year for various marathons, walks, and other events.
The Explorers can also be used by the department as role players during training exercises for the police training and during Officer Survival School training. During training the department needs actors to play the rolls of victims and witnesses and most often criminals. It is just as much a learning experience for the Explorer as it is the police officer in training.
Q:Do Explorers get to ride on the streets with an officer?
Yes. Explorers over the age of 16 are able to ride on patrol with officers on a limited basis if they choose to do so which enables them to gain enough personal experience to make an informed decision as to whether they really want to pursue a career in law enforcement. Typically Explorers earn an hour of ridealong credit for each hour of service put in, such as meeting attendance, and other event meetings.
Who can be a Police Explorer?
If you are interested in becoming a Police Explorer, you must be 14 ½ to 20 years old. If you are under the age of 18 you need parental consent to participate in the Explorer Program. You should have a general interest and appreciation for law enforcement. You must have and maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.0 or better, be of good moral character, abstain from using alcohol and drugs and must not have a felony or misdemeanor conviction.
Background investigations as well as involvement with local School Resource Officers (SROs) are performed to be sure the candidate will be able to join the program.
The Police Department recruits quarterly for the Post. The first step is the written application to be submitted. If you attain a passing score the process is followed by an oral interview and a background investigation. If you are accepted into the program you will remain a probationary Explorer for three months and will be allowed to participate in limited certain activities. After passing the probationary period you will be required to wear the Explorer uniform and have full access to the opportunities available through the program.
Q: When are the Meetings?
The Explorer meetings are generally held the FIRST and THIRD Sundays of every month, from 5pm to 7pm at the central police station, at 701 W Sample. Times and weeks may vary slightly, but we try to stick to this schedule as much as permissible. Meetings are typically 1½ to 2 hours in length, and include general post business as well as other training modules of Law Enforcement education.
Explorers are required to attend the meetings and volunteer a minimum of 6 hours per month (not including ridealong hours). In addition to the aforementioned functions, Explorers may also volunteer their time throughout the Police Department but primarily within the Property Room, Crime Scene Unit and Records sections. Several current employees at the Police Department started out as Police Explorers. Cost for participation is minimal, with $5.00 of monthly dues collected used for post activities. Uniforms are supplied at no charge after a three month probationary period!
Q: Who can I contact for more information?
If you are interested in becoming a Police Explorer contact the Head Explorer Advisor, Cpl. Keenan Lane at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: How can I get started?
The first step is to download, print out, fill out and return (no mail ins) the Explorer Application Packet at the top of the page. This will provide you more information about the post and the application itself, or call with any questions!
Q: I am over 20 but interested in something similar.
Are you a High School Graduate, and enrolled in college? Be sure to also take a look at our renewed Cadet Program for applicants 18-24 years old:
Information on our SBPD Cadet Program