Oxford Police Department encourages law enforcement as career choice
The Oxford Police Department is hosting a new program to encourage youth to choose law enforcement as a career and help build leadership skills that will be an important tool in whatever path they decide to take.
The newly established Law Enforcement Explorer Post is part of the Explorer Program, sponsored by Learning for Life, an affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America and chartered locally through the Yocona Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Law Enforcement Exploring is a hands-on program open to young men and women who are 14 to 20 years old and interested in a career in law enforcement or a related field in the criminal justice system.
OPD Code Enforcement Officer Rusty Rasberry and Patrol/Housing Division Officer Kevin Houston have more than 25 years of combined experience with Boy Scouts and together worked on bringing the Law Enforcement Exploring Post to Oxford.
“We are now recruiting adults and police officers who want to be a part of the program,” Rasberry said. “Then we will start accepting kids.”
The program offers young adults a personal awareness of the criminal justice system through training, practical experiences, competition and other activities.
Additionally, the program promotes personal growth through character development, respect for the rule of law, physical fitness, good citizenship and patriotism.
Exploring is the worksite-based program of Learning for Life and focuses on involving teenagers in clubs, called posts, that allow young people to learn about possible careers, form friendships, develop leadership skills, and enjoy activities with like-minded teens and adults.
“A Post doesn’t just have to be for law enforcement,” Rasberry said. “We’re hoping our program becomes a model that can be used by others, like the fire department or even a medical explorer’s post. It can be for any career. Ours will focus on law enforcement.”
The explorers will learn the ins and outs of being a police officer from learning how to use handcuffs correctly to working with the Mounted Patrol.
“They will meet twice a month and will be learning our trade,” Houston said.
Rasberry said the program will teach leadership skills as the older Explorers will eventually move up and become the teachers of the newer members.
“We hope to see our Explorers embrace the community and see them working at the OPD Fun Day or Juneteenth Celebration,” he said. “The long term goal is to help build interest in law enforcement as a career but also to help build up the relationship between OPD and the community.”