This year marks the start of the City of Pawtucket’s Police Explorers. The program is something Police Chief Tina Goncalves and Mayor Grebien have been excited to get underway and are even happier to see put in motion.
“The Explorers Program is a worthy investment to connect our youth with meaningful career training and for them to gain a better understanding of our community policing efforts,” said Mayor Grebien. “We hope that through the program we are also creating a diverse pipeline for future Pawtucket police officers.”
Pawtucket Police Explorers comes at no cost to the participants thanks to the department absorbing the majority of the cost, along with a ten-thousand appropriation from the City Council. This allows for anyone to participate regardless of ability to pay. By partnering with Boy Scouts of America and having a connection with Pawtucket’s YMCA, the public service component of the program will be fulfilled as participants will work at the YMCA in various capacities and have the chance to receive life guard training and CPR certification.
The program is overseen by Sergeant Kenneth Dolan and five other officers of various ranks. Each brings their own experience and expertise to the program. Dolan, a former explorer, will spend the next year teaching the fourteen participants (9 girls and 5 boys, ages 14-17) the benefits of discipline and respect, not just for people with ranks and titles but for their fellow students, parents and community members. The most important lesson is the ability to push past failure with the knowledge that you can reach success on the other side and it’s a lesson that works for everyone regardless of age or occupation.
Community integration plays a large part here. It’s important to know who your neighbors are, and introduce yourself to them in turn. This is something that’s been relatively lost in the passage of time, but that the City of Pawtucket is working to make a priority for its youth. Through community services like traffic management and parking at events like the Pawtucket Arts Festival, the Police Explorers will see what it’s like to contribute to and be an active member of their community.
Over the next year the Police Explorers will coordinate with other civic organizations like the Civil Air Patrol and Search and Rescue Teams as they learn all aspects of law enforcement. These range from photograph analysis, fingerprinting, investigative techniques, and more.
The first meeting was held this past Tuesday, March 6th, with a diverse group of students from schools throughout Pawtucket. Even if law enforcement is not the end goal, there was a general sense of purpose and positivity among the participants. Some were there in pursuit of an eventual career in law enforcement, while others were from families with military or public safety service. No matter what the reason, this group of students is a proud example of the next generation looking to make a difference in their community.
For more information, visit: http://www.pawtucketpolice.com/community/policeexplorers.html
- Mayor Donald R. Grebien