Teens interested in law enforcement can experience the ins and outs of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office through its Explorer post.
Explorer Post 63 is holding an open house and recruiting meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Columbia County Government Complex Auditorium in Building A on Ronald Reagan Drive in Evans.
The meeting will include demonstrations from the sheriff's office Canine Unit and Special Response Team. Explorers also will be on hand to answer questions.
Will Dally, an Evans High School senior, is entering his fourth year in the post, this year as its captain. The 17-year-old said his training in the post brought him new insight about sheriff's office operations and more respect for its deputies.
"Before I started, I thought they were just cops who drive around in cars and ate doughnuts all day," Dally said. "Now I see what they have to go through."
Columbia County sheriff's Deputy Sean Joiner, who heads up the program, said the post has about 14 active members. But with recruitment, he'd like to see that number rise to about 30.
The post, which meets at least twice a month, is designed to introduce high school students to the fundamentals of law enforcement. The program allows them to observe the daily operations of the sheriff's office.
Through the year-long program, Joiner said Explorers will participate in physical training, community service projects and learn about crime scene investigations, traffic procedures, report writing, handcuffing techniques, accident investigations, do-mestic violence training, hostage negotiation training and firearms training among other topics.
Joiner said many of the teens involved in the Explorer post go on to law enforcement or military careers. In addition to training, the explorers grow personally from their participation in the program.
"It is discipline," Joiner said. "It teaches them self-esteem. It teaches them how to interact with the community, how to deal with their peers, how to deal with problems that may arise in the future."
Joiner said the program is open to those ages 15 to 20 and those who are 14 years old who have completed the eighth grade. The meeting is free, but Explorer post members incur annual dues the first year and some uniform costs.
For more information, contact Joiner at (706) 541-2855 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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