APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – For teens and younger adults, the Appleton Police Explorers program allows those interested in becoming police officers to get a feel for what the job is all about.
It’s an organization formed by Learning of Life and run through the Appleton Police Department in Outagamie County.
The program has been running for over three decades and allows those between the ages of 14 – 21 to learn about a career in law enforcement.
This isn’t for kids wanting to play around and waste time. The Explorers program takes the participants seriously, treating them and the program with respect.
The members receive real training to give them a feel of what the job is really like. A lot of the training is related to patrol duties a patrol officer would do as well as some specialty duties investigators perform.
Explorers are taught about traffic stops, processing a crime scene, how to search and clear a building, even how to handle a burglary in process, among other scenarios.
Hours are given on a volunteer-basis and allow the Explorers to help the current department in situations like crowd/traffic control during large city events.
Anyone between the ages of 14 – 21 is welcome to apply to be a Police Explorer. Lead advisor to the program, Sgt. Schroeder, says once an application is received, they try to mimic the hiring process as close to real life as possible.
Applicants will be asked to take a written and oral test, which is more for reading comprehension and less about the job itself and will be asked to submit to a background check. Once both of those things are cleared, they are offered a chance to be a member.
Current Explorer Captain and almost six-year participant, Will Hansen, along with his advisors, pass along their knowledge and help new recruits learning the ropes. Hansen says, “I feel like I’m teaching the future of law enforcement.”
Hansen says the program has been fun, and exciting and most importantly, is getting him the experience he needs to follow his goal of becoming an officer. Once Will completes his degree in Criminal Justice, he plans to pursue this career full time and plans to apply to departments around the area. “Appleton would be great, but we have so many great community departments… that I’d be happy to go to any of them.” he says.
After at least six years in a program like this, no doubt any of them will be happy to have him.
For questions or further information about the Appleton Police Explorers program, reach out to them on their Facebook page.