HELENA — The Helena Police Department announced that their Police Explorer program is back for anyone in high school between the ages of 14 and 19 considering a career in law enforcement.
The program is designed to offer young adults a hands-on introduction to a criminal justice career through a variety of activities and training with on-duty police officers. The Detective Sargent for the Helena Police Department, Adam Shanks, said they had to put the program on hold for a while.
"It's been around for quite some time and we just unfortunately fell out of it. The last couple of years, primarily because of covid and some other things. But that was the big, big reason. And now we're re-upping it and we're restarting it and kind of rebranding it to our own, you know, 2023 vision," said Shanks.
These explorer programs began as part of the Boy Scouts back in the 1930s but they really began to grow in popularity during the 1980s.
Over the years, the number of programs has expanded to a variety of fields, including law enforcement and aviation.
Most quickly came back after the pandemic, but Helena Police decided to take a bit more time to retool the experience.
"Instructing the kids on what patrol operations look like and then how officers do have to use of force and what that means. And the restrictions we have on that. There's also going to be swat day where they going to meet with some of the SWAT guys, some MYLO training, criminal investigations division will come out and we can do some crime scene things and explain what criminal investigations do," said Shanks.
Shanks says that joining the program will be a great learning experience for those interested in law enforcement.
"If there's a high schooler that's interested in law enforcement, it certainly isn't going to hurt anything. And it may might be a good opportunity to kind of see if it's a day-to-day thing that they're interested in for the topics that we're going to be doing."
The Helena police department plans to hold its first class for the explorer program on February, 28th.
You can contact your school counselor's office for an application to the program, or for more information, you can go to the Helena Police Department's webpage here.