LANHAM – The Prince George’s County Police Department is hosting a summer program for high school-aged children desiring to learn more about community protection and safety awareness.
The Explorers Program, which has been in operation for more than 50 years, hosts weekly training sessions at six different posts around the county to get high school students involved in public safety and to attend police events geared towards helping the community.
The police department has sponsored the program since 1976, according to Cpl. Conrad D’Haiti, coordinator for the Explorers Program.
D’Haiti said the program—which is similar to Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for the police—is a work-based training program for young adults.
“This is not a reform program,” D’Haiti said. “This is a program that makes good kids into better kids.”
The program is a simulation of the Prince George’s County Police Department, and students wear a variation of a police uniform.
The students practice shooting at a controlled shooting range in Indiana University, hand out flyers at different functions and participate in trust-building activities.
“What aren’t we doing?” said Cpl. Derreck Clagett, lead advisor for Explorers Post 222, which is hosted inside Fairwood Shopping Center in Bowie. Explorers Post 222 covers the entire District Two area in Prince George’s County.
Clagett said his program has about 25 children. Clagett’s post received an award for being named the Explorers Post of the Year in 2013, and police honored the post in 2014. Clagett said each post is run in a different way, but he runs his like a police academy to make it easier for children who want to go into the police force to understand what to expect.
“Not all of them want to go into the police force,” Clagett said. “I have one girl who wants to be a chef.”
A lot of students join the program because the program offers scholarships and community service hours, Clagett said.
Clagett said children of all ages participate in the program. In his district, Clagett has two 11-year-old children and one student who just recently turned 20. The 11-year-old students are part of a similar program separate from the Explorers program called the Explorers Club.
Clagett said the next upcoming event for the Bowie post is Wednesday in the Lake View Community to support the community’s neighborhood watch. Post 222 will be walking with members of the community to celebrate and promote the neighborhood watch.
In 2016, the Explorers Program will be having an anniversary gala for their 40th year working inside the Prince George’s County Police Department. According to D’Haiti, current and former explorers, past chiefs of police, politicians and program supporters will be invited to the event.
“It’s going to be big,” D’Haiti said.
At the moment, most programs are on a break after just coming back from a national conference.