SPD youth volunteer programs renamed and updated

Jerry Swanson, SPD Public Information Assistant, no phone number available

Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at 10:54 a.m.

The Spokane Police Cooperative Education Program (coop), which has been in existence since 1988, is now called the Police Cadet Program. The name change reflects a change in program requirements and structure, but many remnants of the co-op program remain. The Cadet Program is for young people between the ages of 19 and 24 who want to learn more about the profession of law enforcement through hands-on experience. Unlike the old co-op program, it is no longer necessary to be enrolled in college to be a cadet. This change was made to ensure that the program did not lack qualified and motivated individuals willing to immerse themselves in the field of law enforcement. The program is always student-friendly; the schedule is flexible and designed to accommodate class and work schedules and participants can earn school credit through the Cadet Program.

Cadet applicants go through a screening and background process. Once selected, they undergo training designed to equip them for tasks such as working community events, assisting at crime scenes, writing police reports, and possibly driving with patrol officers.

The SPD’s Explorers program retains its title, but the age of Explorers is now 15–18. These school-aged kids commit to volunteering 16 hours a month and completing training and an Explorers Academy, as well as maintaining a 2.5 GPA. Explorers perform similar tasks to cadets and get more opportunities and responsibilities as their experience grows.

Both programs fall under the Boy Scouts of America – Learning for Life program. The Explorer/Cadet programs provide wonderful opportunities for young people to experience first-hand what it is to be a police officer and what it takes to serve their community. Many current SPD officers are former Explorer and Co-op members. SPD is currently accepting new applicants for the Explorer and Cadet programs. One of the primary goals of the Spokane Police Department is to engage with the community we serve. There are many ways to get involved with the Spokane Police Department. Opportunities include: volunteering as a reserve police officer, police cadet, police explorer or volunteer citizen.

This video highlights the type of training and experiences that are part of the Explorer/Cadet programs. That day, students from the NEWtech Skills Center in Spokane spent time at the Police Academy to learn about the programs. A handful of them applied and were accepted as explorers!

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