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Explorer program recruits youth to police force

The Demopolis Police Department began three new programs this year that require the involvement of the city’s residents.

The Citizens Police Academy began in June and the police reserves program began a couple of weeks ago. The Explorers program is the third of these programs to get under way.

The Explorers involve young people age 12 to 19 who want to learn more about police work and to help the community. On Tuesday, the program began with an orientation and a history of police work and the Demopolis Police Department. The Explorers are led by school resource officer Tim Williams.

Inaugural members of the DPD Explorer program are Blake Bowden, Allen Campbell, Colby Lewis, T.J. Reese, Matthew Soronen and Matthew Trest.

“They will get the chance to pick out and design their own T-shirts with the patch on it,” said DPD chief Reese. “This will be their uniform.”

Reese said the Explorer program, like the reserves program, is continuous, unlike the Citizens Police Program, which meets for eight weeks. Although the Explorers is similar to the Junior Police program of the past, it will be different in many ways.

“It’s more like a junior police academy,” Williams said. “We had a class on the history of law enforcement,

“I was a Junior Police officer under (former chief) Bobby Meigs,” Reese said, “and here I sit now. We hope that this will give them some more insight about law enforcement. Maybe they would want to choose that as a career.

“Explorers will do a lot of things that the Citizens Police Academy is doing: fingerprinting and other different things. They will get the chance to help on traffic control and parades, and will get the chance to go off on field trips. I hope to take them to Birmingham and other places to see the larger police departments and see how they operate.”

Those wanting to join the Explorers program may call the police department at (334) 289-3073.

“People can pick up an application for their child, and we will meet with them,” Reese said.