By Melissa Ullrich
Lewiston Police Explorer
The primary mission of the Lewiston Police Explorers program is to mentor and expose young adults between the ages of 14 and 21 to leadership, community service, and the field of law enforcement. Participants will work in strictly controlled environments with both civilians and sworn officers of the Lewiston Police Department to develop and practice these skills.
The Explorer Program is open to students from Lew-Port, Niagara Wheatfield and Niagara Falls school districts, as well as college students.
Explorers enjoy a variety of teaching styles when learning the various topics covered. Classroom presentations, as well as hands-on scenarios and physical exercises, are guided by qualified officers from the Lewiston Police Department. Trips and guest speakers are also scheduled to expand the knowledge of the group.
Previously, the Lewiston Police Explorers have toured the Niagara County Jail, the Niagara County Sheriff's Office Dispatch Center, the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as well as other specialty departments in the area. Guest speakers from the K-9 division, New York State Police dive team and sniper division, and the commercial vehicle enforcement division have also shared their expertise with the group.
Explorers are taught a wide range of topics in order to expand their knowledge of the criminal justice system, including CPR and first aid certification, patrolling 101, criminal justice, patrol-based scenarios, the use of force continuum, vehicle and traffic stop skills, physical training, handcuffing techniques, defensive tactics, and range and gun safety.
Explorers also have the opportunity to become eligible for ridealongs with qualified officers of the Lewiston Police Department when they reach the age of 16, are certified in CPR, and after completing their attendance requirement. Ridealongs provide Explorers with the kind of knowledge that only real life experience can provide. Explorers are welcome to join officers on daily patrol, as well as patrol of Artpark concerts during the summer (when available).
Even though criminal justice is a large aspect of the program, it is not the sole focus. Leadership skills, teamwork, community service, responsibility and accountability are also taught. Explorers are responsible and held accountable for their attendance, participation and success in the program.
In order to assist in this process, Explorers are taught the methods and characteristics of effective leaders, and are encouraged to explore and employ these methods. Teamwork is also emphasized in the program, as explorers work together to overcome obstacles that arise during training.
As members of the community, Lewiston Police Explorers also volunteer their time to assist with public activities in the Lewiston area. Explorers take pride in their involvement, and assist with the annual law enforcement memorial at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Relay For Life, Lewiston Earth Day cleanup, the Peach Festival, the Lewiston Library "Bicycle Rodeo," and any other opportunities that may arise.
Applications are currently being accepted for the fall program. An open house will be held Thursday, Sept. 22, at the Lewiston Police Department, which is located at 4059 Creek Road. Contact officer Brandon Hall at Bhall@lewpd.com or call the LPD at 716-754-8477 with any questions regarding application.