Law Enforcement Exploring
|Law Enforcement Exploring|
|Owner||Learning for Life|
|Country||United States of America|
|Founded||July 12, 1973|
Law Enforcement Exploring
Law Enforcement Exploring also known as Police Explorers is a career-oriented program that gives young adults the opportunity to explore a career in law enforcement by working with local law enforcement agencies. Founded on July 12, 1973, it is one of the Exploring programs from Learning for Life, a non-Scouting subsidiary of the Boy Scouts of America. The program is generally available to qualified young adults who graduated 8th grade and are ages 14 through 21.
Learning for Life (LFL) coordinates the Law Enforcement Explorer program at the national level. LFL provides resources such as advisor training, sample policies, and insurance. LFL also hosts a biannual conference and competition, the National Law Enforcement Explorer Conference.
Local Explorer programs chartered by a local law enforcement agency. At least one officer from that agency serves as the post "Advisor". This advisor is responsible for department-level administration of the program, and ensuring that the program meets the departments objectives.
Most posts are paramilitary in nature, with a command structure mirroring that of the hosting agency.
Activities and Training
Each post is unique and the activities of each depend on their specific department’s policies and guidelines. Typical activities include:
- Weekly or bi-monthly administrative and training
- Patrol “ride-alongs”
- Community Service
- Tactical training
- Honor guards
- Search and Rescue (some ESAR posts specialize in this)
- Radio procedure (how to properly use police radios)
- Arrests and use of force
- Traffic stops
- Building searches
- Crime scene investigations
- Crisis/hostage negotiations
- Report writing
- Domestic crises
- Emergency first aid/officer down
- White collar crime
After September 11, 2001, some Explorer posts have focused their training on counter-terrorism, border patrol, drug raids, hostage negotiation, and active shooter areas, while still teaching the above listed areas.
In some areas of the country, Explorers may go to an Explorer Academy, usually consecutive weekends or week-long to receive training and discipline, somewhat like a real law enforcement academy. The academy ends with a graduation ceremony where certificates (such as CPR certification) and awards are given.
Some systems may provide different levels of Academy training, such as:
- Basic (Complete overview of basic law enforcement)
- Advanced (with rotating topic each academy or simply more in-depth training on various topics)
- Explorer Administrative Assistants ( EAA's assist in the running of academies and assist with training)
- Leadership (Either to prepare for a leadership position within the post or to prepare for the actual hiring process)
- Academy Police Department (Explorers apply, and are selected to join the APD, this course will simulate what it is like to work for a law enforcement agency for a week, using mock scenes to challenge the Explorer)
- Ride Along (Explorers learn how to safely ride along side a police officer serving on his or her patrol shift. They learn where to stand on traffics stops and how to react in high stress situations. They are also taught when and when not to get out of the patrol car depending on the severity of the call.)
A majority of Explorer Training, including Academies are instructed by post advisers.
Public services are a chance for the Explorers to get out in public and interact with the community. Events range from crowd control at parades, to providing security and uniformed presence at events like fairs and sporting events, and directing traffic during mass traffic floods; such as those following sporting and other civic events.
Conferences and Competition
Every-other year, Learning for Life hosts a National Law Enforcement Explorer Conference, which includes role-playing scenarios that law enforcement officers regularly encounter, seminars, and networking opportunities.The 2012 Conference was held at Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, Colorado. 
Depending on regional structure, Explorers may compete several times annually. They perform the skills they have learned (such as traffic stops, building searches, marksmanship, arrests, etc.) usually in the form of scenarios. They are graded by judges against fellow explorers from the region, country, and sometimes world.
On the web there are many ways of communicating, and interacting with other explorers not only from the United States of America but from around the world too.
Awards and recognition
Explorers are eligible for awards and scholarships offered through Learning for Life, and through local and regional Explorer organizations.
Since the mid-1970s, there have been over 100 reported cases of police officers having sex with Explorers, the vast majority of whom were underage. Such incidents have occurred in at least 66 police departments. Learning for Life has created a set of rules governing the Explorer program, which includes a non-fraternization policy between officers (or "adult leaders") and Explorers. However, it leaves oversight to individual departments. There are no reported cases of Learning for Life revoking a police department's ability to operate an Explorer program over failed oversight leading to one or several incidents of sexual abuse.
- Scouts Train to Fight Terrorists, and More The New York Times, May 13, 2009
- 2012 Conference Flyer Learning for Life