It's the second year for the Toppenish Police Department's Youth Explorer Program, and they're excited about its gaining popularity.
TOPPENISH, WA - It's the second year for the Toppenish Police Department's Youth Explorer Program, and they're excited about its gaining popularity.
When Toppenish Police first started the program they only had a handful of recruits. But this year, they're up to the maximum which is 20 recruits and there's even a waiting list.
Police said you have to be between 14 to 21 years of age. It's a teaching program where kids learn the basics of criminal law.
As a police explorer, you can't carry a gun or make any arrests, but police said explorers still play an important role. They are an extra pair of eyes and ears on the community.
Police said it also helps those kids stay out of trouble.
"There is a gang issue here," said Sgt. Jake Church with the Toppenish Police Department. "I mean it's better, but it's still there and it offers kids something constructive to do. We have trainings with them that are two hours a week, they get involved. They have to maintain a certain standard of behavior."
Police said after you're old enough to leave the explorer program, they hope some recruits will want to become reserve officers. Officers said in smaller police departments like Toppenish, reserve officers are crucial because those volunteers are often used to help patrol the streets.