SPD Explorer's Post #322
The Explorer’s Program has been in effect with the Sterling Police Department for 29 years, beginning in 1989. At the end of 2017, the Post had nine members ranging in age from 14 to 20 years old. Sergeant Russell Baca, Officer Ryan Peterson and Officer Nicholas Cantrell serve as Post Advisors with Chief Tyson Kerr as the Committee Chairman. All advisors work voluntarily with the Explorers on various projects, such as fingerprinting children, security projects, fund raisers, and aiding with traffic control at many community events.
The Explorers, in either their distinguishing black training t-shirts and black BDU pants, or the blue uniforms, were very visible at many 2017 Sterling events, to include the Logan County Fair and Parade, Blue Santa, Heritage Days on July 4th at the Overland Trail Museum, and security at Sugar Beet Days, to name a few. The Explorers participate in numerous Ride-A-Longs with the officers. The Explorers were valuable assets in assisting with practical trainings with new officers in the FTO Program in 2017. During these functions, the Explorers provide a valuable assist with many tasks for the officer to whom they are assigned. As a brief overview, Explorers is a program for boys and girls between 14 and 21 years of age. While it is a national program, the local post is run through the Sterling Police Department. Participants go to a variety of locations every other Wednesday (Police department, city shops, parks, etc) between 6:00 and 8:00 pm. During the meetings advisors, who are Sterling PD Officers, and guest speakers teach several police related skills. Besides the police skills we speak highly of the Explorer program in general because no matter a child's long term goals, Explorers offers lessons in punctuality, respect, professionalism, confidence and public speaking. In addition to meetings, Explorers participate in community events and can compete in regional competitions against other Explorer posts. Law Enforcement Explorer Posts help youth to gain insight into a variety of programs that offer hands-on career activities. For young men and women who are interested in careers in the field of law enforcement, “exploring” offers experiential learning with lots of fun-filled, hands-on activities that promote the growth and development of adolescent youth.
They also receive donations throughout the year from events in which they provide security services, such as the annual Sugar Beet Days, held in downtown Sterling. The Explorers work in shifts at this event, providing 24 hour coverage for the many vendor booths.
In July 2016 five explorers spent a week in Gunnison, CO attending the LEEPAAC conference. The conference is a yearly event that brings together Posts from around the area, even other states, to put on display the skills they have learned. The explorers had a great time, made friends, and got a different perspective on how other Posts operate. Kendrick Thompson also received an award, along with his team consisting of explorers from other Posts, for their work during an Officer Down scenario.
Big things are in the works for 2018, as the explorer program is being redesigned. There will be everything from new uniforms to a new part of the program that will get younger kids involved. The Sterling Explorer Post is going to be one of the first in the state to start an Explorer Club. The Club is geared toward children ages 10 to 13 and will teach many of the same things that are taught to the older explorers. Upon turning 14, and after successful completion of the Club, the club member will become an Explorer. This is just one of the changes in store for the future of the Sterling Police Explorer Program.
Many former Explorers of the Sterling Police Department’s program are currently working in agencies which include the Sterling Police Department, the Sterling Department of Corrections, Fort Morgan Police Department, Logan County Sheriff’s Office, and the Colorado State Patrol. Explorer Sgt. Andrew De Souza was recently hired by the Colorado State Patrol Port Authority and will begin working for them in January 2018.
If you have a son or a daughter in school who is interested in law enforcement as a career, the Explorers Program would be good exposure for them. To contact an Advisor and gain further details regarding the program, please call (970) 522-3512 and ask for Sgt. Baca, Officer Peterson or Officer Cantrell.