CRESTVIEW — Hub City teens can test drive a law enforcement career and promote civic involvement as members of the Crestview Police Department’s Crestview Explorers.
The group, organized by the Boy Scouts of America and headed by community police officers Wanda Hulion and Sam Kimmons, is for young adults ages 14-20 interested in police work.
"It gives them a taste of what a police officer does," Community Police Officer Wanda Hulion said. "It allows them to see if they want to explore a career in law enforcement."
The club, 14 members strong, also has a Junior Explorers program for 12- to 13-year-olds.
Interacting with police officers who give insight on the job, and occasionally riding along on patrols can be eye-opening, members said.
"It’s about realizing that their motto of 'protect and serve' means so much more," Michael Mitchem, 17, said. "You are working for the community."
Since joining the group, Michael — whose aunt is Hulion — is considering a law enforcement career.
"She is what got me into the Explorers program," he said.
Michael now has a leadership role in the group; members recently elected him sergeant, Ryan Lehneis as chief and Haillee Lehneis as secretary and treasurer.
During community events, the Explorers offer free children’s fingerprint kits, which can help police find missing kids in emergencies. Additionally, the group has helped Crestview Manor workers clean the outside grounds for residents. Recently, members helped assisted living residents paint flowerpots.
Issac Roland, 17, said he enjoys participating in such activities.
"It's something I have never done before; it’s new experiences," he said.
One such experience included deciding on his career.
"Before I joined it, I had no idea what I wanted to do," he said.
Crestview Explorers meet at 5 p.m. each third Thursday at the Crestview Community Police office, 118 S. Savage St.
Contact Community Police Officer Wanda Hulion, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Officer Sam Kimmons, email@example.com, to learn more.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.