Members of Explorer Post 63 saw their skills and training put to the test during April.
The program, headed by the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, is designed to prepare students ages 14 to 20 with hands-on learning of law enforcement.
"Basically, they train like we do," said sheriff's Deputy Sean Joiner, who advises the group. "They have to know what we know."
Post 63, made up of 11 members, recently placed in a variety of categories in two competitions.
At the 2008 Scout Blast competition, a metro meet in Gwinnett County, Ga., Explorers took home three first-place finishes in the DUI Stop, the Felony Stop and the Escaped Inmate categories. The post placed first overall in the competition.
During the Law Enforcement Explorer Association of Georgia's fourth annual state competition in Duluth, the group finished in second place in the Burglary in Progress and Unknown Problem categories and finished in third place in the Hostage Negotiation and Active Shooter categories. The post placed fourth overall, with more than 100 participants competing.
"It was really exciting for them," Joiner said. "It was a great sense of accomplishment for them."
The past two competitions, held during the last two weekends in April, showcased not only their law enforcement ability, but also their dedication, Joiner said.
"Two or three of the seniors decided to give up their senior prom to go to the past two events," he said.
Explorer member Randall Norman, an 18-year-old freshman at Georgia Southern University, said he frequently travels back from Statesboro to attend the meetings, which take place at least twice a month. He said he views the group as a family.
"It's all a part of the dedication," Norman said.
Alan Jacobson said his son, Scott, a sophomore at Greenbrier High School, wants to work as a dog handler or as a SWAT team member.
"They do good," Jacobson said of the post. "He was on the team last year that got awards and then he was on the team this year."
In 2007, Joiner said the Explorers collectively accumulated 360 hours of community service, which included volunteering at Boy Scout camps, the Special Olympics, school functions, and similar events.
"I think it's a good program especially if this is what they want to do, and if it's not, it's a good way for them to learn this isn't what they want to do," Jacobson said.
Joiner said the past two competitions will be his last as the post adviser, and he was proud of his group's achievements.
"This has been their best year," Joiner said. "They've worked hard for it, and they've wanted for a long time to bring home overall post, and it finally happened for them."
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