Teenagers in our community are often faced with many important decisions concerning their future. What career they will choose and how they will interact with society are questions that are constantly asked of them. They can turn in many directions for a peer group, and they may not always make the right decision. The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Explorers program is a way to help teenagers make the right decisions and at the same time they get to experience first hand how a Sheriff’s Office functions.
The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Explorers is a program that offers pride and self-esteem for community minded young men and women in Okaloosa County. The Explorers organization not only sets a teen on the right track of becoming a concerned law abiding citizen, but also provides the chance for these young men and women to explore a possible career choice. Many teens that participate in the Explorer program choose law enforcement as a career once they are older. The skills they learn while a member of the Explorers aids them in their careers regardless of the career they may choose.
The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Explorers organization, created in the late fall of 1978 by Retired Deputy Sheriff Ray MacGrogan, is one of many law enforcement exploring programs in the nation. As a deputy for the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, he undoubtedly had insight into the needs of youth and wanted to provide a respectable outlet for ideas and energy. The post was officially chartered with the Boy Scouts of America In January, 1979. Law Enforcement agencies across the country have also followed this idea, and today there are approximately 40,000 law enforcement Explorers in nearly 2,000 posts in the United States. The Explorers continue to set an example by providing invaluable services to the community, and to the country.
So what exactly do the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Explorers do?
The aim of the post is to build self-esteem and leadership skills in young men and women while also providing for the exploring of law enforcement as a possible career and to provide community services. These young men and women explore all areas of law enforcement by training in police sciences, listening to guest speakers and lecturers, and film training videos. The Explorers meet once a week for a couple of hours and visitors are always welcome.
The Sheriff’s Explorers serve the community is a variety of different ways:
- Assists the Sheriff’s Office with searches.
- Directs parking at various community functions.
- Assists in registration, checkpoints, crowd control in runs, walk-a-thons, etc.
- Initiations of emergency notification decals to local businesses.
- Assists in maintaining order at community football games.
- Assists in security at regional and local camporees.
Everything that happens as a result of the Explorers actions are recorded in a personnel file. This includes everything from certificates of appreciation for working special events and departmental commendations for exemplary performance to disciplinary memos. As an Explorer’s file grows with documented proof of community service and leadership capabilities, it can become a valuable resource when the Explorer applies for any type of employment.
Requirements for Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Explorers:
- Must be an Okaloosa County Resident
- Must have at least a 2.0 GPA in school
- Must complete an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office background check
- Must be over the age of 14 and no older than 20. The Junior Explorers program is available for youths ages 12-14
The Sheriff’s Explorers are broken into three districts. The North District covers Crestview, Baker, Laurel Hill and Holt areas. The East District covers Niceville, Valparaiso, Bluewater Bay, Destin, and Eglin Air Force Base. The Central District covers Fort Walton Beach, Shalimar, Cinco Bayou and Mary Esther. For more information about joining the Sheriff’s Explorers please contact the appropriate Advisor assigned to the district in which you reside.
North District Advisor – Deputy Patrick Legions
Central District Advisor – Deputy Cullen Coraine
East District Advisor – Deputy Tori Cottrell