Law Enforcement Exploring is the preeminent career orientation and experience program for young people contemplating a career in law enforcement or a related field in the criminal justice system. Its mission is to offer young adults, 14 and have completed the eighth grade and not yet 21 years old, 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. Law Enforcement Explorer Posts are sponsored by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies throughout the country. Law Enforcement Exploring is endorsed by numerous professional organizations, to include the International Chiefs of Police Association (IACP) and the National Sheriffs Association (NSA). Law Enforcement Exploring has been in existence since 1959 and is a well established and highly respected program that has served as a platform from which countless young adults have launched a successful career with local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Many Chiefs of Police, Sheriffs, and heads of other types of law enforcement agencies credit Law Enforcement Exploring for providing them the foundation for a successful career.
In order to provide middle school aged youth an opportunity to learn about Law Enforcement Exploring and other career Exploring programs, Middle School Explorer Clubs for 6th through 8th grade students were initiated in 2013. Middle School Explorer Clubs focused on law enforcement can effectively use Law Enforcement Explorers as mentors to provide age appropriate information and practical experiences to club members while at the same time recruiting future candidates for Post membership. Middle School Explorer Clubs are sponsored by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
All Exploring programs are based on the following five areas of emphasis: Career Opportunities, Life Skills, Citizenship, Character Education, and Leadership Experience. Law Enforcement Exploring fulfills all of these areas of emphasis in its mission to offer Explorers interested in a career in law enforcement the opportunity to:
Gain exposure to various criminal justice careers and to have positive interaction with law enforcement professionals. [Career Opportunities]
Obtain “hands-on” experience and awareness of the criminal justice system, thereby helping Explorers to make an informed decision on a career in law enforcement or a related field. [Career Opportunities]
Receive comprehensive career focused training that in many cases qualifies for academic credit (i.e. career education credit). [Career Opportunities]
Benefit from interpersonal growth through self-discipline, teamwork, challenging experiences, and high standards of performance and personal conduct. [Citizenship, Character Education]
Enhance character development and improve physical and mental fitness. [Character Education, Life Skills]
Learn responsibility to self and others through leadership. [Leadership Experience]
Serve their community by assisting their sponsoring agency in a supplementary law enforcement and liaison capacity. [Citizenship]
Nationally, over 33,000 Explorers and 8,425 adult volunteers participate in Law Enforcement Exploring. The program highlights include: the National Law Enforcement Exploring Conference, the National Law Enforcement Exploring Leadership Academies, Post sponsored Ride-Along programs, and the opportunity to earn Law Enforcement Exploring Proficiency Awards, the Law Enforcement Career Achievement Award, scholarships and other recognition’s.
The most popular career fields highlighted in Law Enforcement Exploring programs include:
City, County and State law enforcement officers
Federal law enforcement officers and Special Agents
U.S. Military Police officers and Investigators/Special Agents
Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts, Forensic Laboratory Specialists and other vital support specialists
Through participation in the program Explorers will develop:
Knowledge about the mission and purpose of law enforcement
Experience about law enforcement operations through training, practical experience, competitions and other activities
Teamwork and leadership skills
You will learn:
Law enforcement procedures and protocols
The importance of the rule of law in a free and democratic society
Respect for diversity, human dignity and civil rights in the application of law enforcement operations
You will have an opportunity to participate in:
National Law Enforcement Conferences and National Law Enforcement Exploring Leadership Academies
National Law Enforcement Exploring Pistol Shooting Championship
Post sponsored basic, advanced and specialized law enforcement training programs
Local, state and regional training programs, conferences and competitive events sponsored by certified Law Enforcement Exploring Associations
Post sponsored Ride-Along programs in patrol cars and other police conveyance operations such as Marine Patrols and Bike Policing
You will have an opportunity to network with:
Law Enforcement Explorers across the country and in some cases with young adults in programs similar to Law Enforcement Exploring sponsored by foreign police agencies
Law enforcement professionals from local, county, state, federal and military organizations
Judges, prosecutors and other professionals involved with the criminal justice system
Community leaders, representatives from private and public community organizations, and instructors and professors from educational institutions that offer criminal justice and related programs
Law Enforcement Exploring will provide you with the following benefits:
Career oriented training, practical experiences and competitions
Personal growth through development of interpersonal skills, leadership opportunities and teamwork
Community service and networking activities
Preparation for career related college degree programs and other advanced education opportunities
When do meetings and other activities take place? The frequency of meetings, training and other activities is determined by the sponsoring agency for the Law Enforcement Explorer Post. Some Posts conduct meetings and other activities on a weekly basis while other Posts have less frequent participation requirements.
Program Costs: Law Enforcement Exploring is very affordable when compared to other youth programs. Each Explorer must pay to Learning for Life/Exploring an annual program participation fee of $24. In addition to the annual participation fee, some Posts require payment of funds in the form of periodic dues or specific fees to support the Post program, purchase uniforms, etc. Special activities and events such as national conferences and national leadership academies involve registration fees and other costs as determined by the type, duration and location of the event or activity.
How can I join? Participation is easy:
Determine the nearest Law Enforcement Explorer Post or Club to you. In the event you do not know the nearest Law Enforcement Explorer Post or Club you can request this information from your local Learning for Life Office and you will be provided the name and contact information for the Post Advisor or Club Sponsor or other agency representative. Click here to find your local Learning for Life Office.
Request information from the participating law enforcement agency about joining the Post. If the Post sponsors an Explorer Club you may also request information about becoming a member. You may request from the Post Advisor information about membership and an application to join the Post or Club.
It is important to note, that due to the sensitive nature of law enforcement operations, most Law Enforcement Explorer Posts have membership requirements. These requirements typically include the successful completion of a background check (no prior arrest record or serious traffic violations), pass an oral interview, have a minimum grade point average, be a person of good conduct and high moral character, be physically fit, etc. There may be similiar but less stringent requirements for joining an Explorer Club.
Providing you meet the membership standards of the Post or Club, you most likely will be invited to attend a Post meeting or activity and invited to become a member.
Upon being invited to join the Post or Club, complete and submit through the Post Advisor or Club Sponsor the Learning for Life/Exploring Youth Participation Form and pay the annual participation fee.