Police Explorers engages young future officers
Recognizing his friends and family as his primary motivators to remain in the Police Explorers, junior Josh Smith presents his speech and dedicates it to the people who have made a significant difference in his life, during the Dec. 2 speech.
While some students participate in a sport or other after school activity, sophomore Josh Jimenez and junior Josh Smith are learning law enforcement as Police Explorers.
Police Explorers is a free program which allows teens to actively participate in law enforcement procedures. Members are exposed to police tactics through training and meetings. Even if teens are not interested in going into the field of law enforcement, they still participate in benefiting the community while growing in character.
Josh Jimenez started attending the Clovis Explorer Post 335 one and a half years ago, he said.
"I had always wanted to be a police officer when I grew up," Jimenez said. "My friend Josh Smith ['11] encouraged me to try Explorers. After I checked out a meeting, I knew it was just for me. Joining is one of the best things I have ever done, and I will keep at it until I graduate the program."
Jimenez says the program teaches him enduring character traits.
"Explorers gives me a sense of guidance in my life," Jimenez said. "It holds me accountable by giving me something to work at. I know I am not going to hang around the wrong crowd or mess with bad stuff. I wouldn't be very motivated without this program."
Post officer Jesus Santillan says Explorers better prepares oneself for a future job as well as serving the city of Clovis. According to Santillan, the Explorers support 75 percent of all nonprofit charities associated with United Way.
"It [Explorers] prepares you for a professional career, exposes you to a law enforcement environment and provides community service to help charity-type programs," Santillan said.
Jimenez, who holds perfect attendance, says Explorers prepares its members for future careers.
"My top three job choices are a policeman, firefighter or paramedic," Jimenez said. "What I am learning now is definitely preparing me for those careers. If I go into a job interview with Police Explorers under my belt, I will have a greater chance of getting that job."
"There is always a ladder to climb in [Police] Explorers. You never stop learning or getting better in what you do. You can always get better depending on how hard you push yourself." -- Josh Smith, '11
Explorers offers a number of activities for its members. Along with actively serving the community, Jimenez enjoys "ride alongs."
"We get to drive around with police to see what they do on the job," Jimenez said. "I observe the officers work like someone would on a job shadow. My dad is in law enforcement so I am already exposed to other police work."
Recently voted "Explorer of the Year," Smith earned the title through his attitude and commitment toward the program.
"It has taught me so much respect to people in charge," Smith said. "Through training I have developed discipline and a work ethic. Since I want to go into law enforcement for a career, Explorers is giving me principles on how to be professional."
Explorers simulates emergency situations to make sure Explorers are prepared at all times.
"The other day our training consisted of domestic violence," Smith said. "We had to take control of the situation. It was all done by volunteers acting like they were fighting. How we take control of the situation prepares us for real-life situations."
Smith continually pushes himself to a higher level of excellence in the program, he says.
With law enforcement officers in his immediate family, sophomore Josh Jimenez, right, wanted to be a police officer since childhood. And when his friend, Josh Smith, '11, left, encouraged him to try Police Explorers, Jimenez jumped at the chance. Jimenez expects to stay in the program until he turns 21.
"There is always a ladder to climb in Explorers," Smith said. "You never stop learning or getting better in what you do. You can always get better depending on how hard you push yourself."
Police Explorers demands physical training for all members in order to be in the program.
"Like any other sports team, we go through tough physical training," Jimenez said. "You have to be fit to be a police officer so they teach us the work ethic at a young age. Some of the drills we do include running a couple of miles, doing many push-ups and dragging a 150-pound dummy that represents a person."
Smith's hard work is conditioning himself for a future career as a police officer, he says.
"We go through strenuous workouts in boot camp in order to stay physically and mentally fit," Smith said. "A camp in San Diego had us work hard from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Our branch goes to Pismo Beach later in the year as a reward for all the hard work we put in."
The program also strives to serve the city of Clovis through its various events.
"The other weekend, we ran three miles with the Marine Corps to sponsor Toys for Tots," Smith said. "Then that same night we did a Christmas parade."
The Clovis Explorers branch is currently equipped with 41 members. Those interested in joining Police Explorers may sign up any time of the year. Applications are available from the Clovis police station. Police Explorers also allows guests to observe a meeting every other Wednesday each month.
According to Smith, the program requires prospective members to be 14 1/2 - 21 years old, 1 and at least graduated from the 8th grade and have at least a 2.5 GPA. Participants cannot have a criminal background.
For more information on joining the Police Explorers, call 559.9324.2443.