The Colleyville Police Department is rolling out a program to introduce young adults to law enforcement.The department plans to begin the Police Explorers program this summer. The program, which is adopted by police departments across the country, uses hands on training to expose young men and women — ages 14-20 — to law enforcement.Police Chief Mike Holder said the Colleyville group, Explorers Post 5201, has two goals: to provide mentoring for the city’s youth and become a long-term recruiting tool for the department.“The biggest goal is that we’re able to be mentors and supporters of our own young people who live here in Colleyville to become productive citizens, to become leaders, in our community,” he said.The department is currently recruiting — on Thursday officers had a table in Colleyville-Heritage High School — and plans to start in early summer.Officer Kyle Meeks, one of the leaders of the program, said applications are available by contacting the program, but will also be on the front desk of the Colleyville justice center.The city had Explorers in the 90s, but Holder said he did not know why it ended. The community’s Boy Scouts program provided a good outlet to bring Exploring back.“If we were looking to expand our outreach to youth and provide other opportunities, we’ve already got a great umbrella that’s already well known and established in the community,” Holder said.Participants will be instructed by current police officers and will learn all aspects of police life. “It's a great way for them to get experience, to gain leadership qualities and to be an asset to the community,” he said.Colleyville Police Captain Robert Hinton was a member of the Richardson Explorers program in 1980. He said it’s a great recruitment tool, explaining that most of the youths that were in the program with him are law enforcement officers today.“You get exposed to what the officers see, you get exposed to all the laws, you get exposed to the things you don't know occur that the officers have to deal with everyday,” he said. “It gives you a very good understanding of what goes into the job of being a police officer.”Holder said members will have a small fee. The program will be largely funded by donations from fundraisers, businesses and civic organizations. He said a donor provided the initial seed money to get the program going and the police department will provide limited funding.
Dustin L. Dangli, 817-390-7770 Twitter: @dussssstin