The San Angelo Police Department is restarting their Law Enforcement Explorer Program.
Community Services Supervisor, Sergeant Timothy Coffman, says, “it’s an opportunity for us to interact with the youth as a community that may be considering a career in law enforcement or criminal justice fields.”
In 2008, the program was stopped due to a lack of officer involvement.
“Now we have a younger group of officers that are really involved, want to be involved with the community,” says Coffman.
The Explorer Program exposes young adults to law enforcement training and when they become an explorer they can even conduct ride-alongs with officers.
SAPD Officer and previous explorer, Raymond Francis, says, “being an Explorer, I guess, it was going to be the make it or break it point. It helped me make my mind up that I wanted to be in law enforcement as a career.”
And for Officer Francis, the decision to join was an easy one. He says he feels he has become a better officer from this program. The program starts from those who have completed eighth grade to when they can apply to be an officer at 21.
“We look at their grades, we look at their employment,” says Coffman. “We’ll look at their criminal record. If they are able to drive, we’ll look at their driving record. We’ll talk to their families we’ll talk to their teachers.”
Officer Francis believes that the program will help kids not be intimidated by officers through building a bond.
“This is going to be a chance for the kids to see a different side of us–to see what we Udo and show both sides of the coin that we are,” says Francis.