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RPD recruiting students for Explorer pogram

By Staff
Melissa Cason
Today's teens are faced with many important decisions from the classes they take in school to a career path once formal education has ended. The Russellville Police Department is allowing teens to explore the field of law enforcement before ever entering high school through their Explorer Program.
Police Chief Chris Hargett said the Explorer program was designed to allow students to explore the world of law enforcement to see if it the right path for them.
"We are giving students the opportunity to come here and learn what law enforcement is all about," Hargett said.
Through the Explorer program, teens learn about different aspects of the department including dispatch and patrol.
"Where else is a teen going to be able to learn hands on about a career?" Hargett said. "We have that opportunity here."
The Explorer program is offered to students age 14 through 21.
"We will take students from both the middle school and high school, but the opportunity is ideal for middle school students," Hargett said.
Should a student enter the program in the middle school, he or she will be able to learn more aspects about law enforcement, and under go more training to be able to take advantage of the ride-along opportunities.
Sgt. Jeremy Hall and Officer Jessie McKinney work with the students every Monday night. Each explorer must complete a minimal amount of training and pass an exam before he or she is allowed to patrol with an officer.
Hargett said the program is also good for students who may not want a career in law enforcement.
"Students can learn how the police department operates, which is a good thing even if they do not want a career in law enforcement," Hargett said.
The department is actively recruiting new students to participate in the Explorer program. Students must maintain good grades, and have good conduct in school in order to participate.
Hall said there is a cost of $20 per year, and a one-time equipment fee.
For more information on the program, contact Hall or McKinney at 332-2230.