Fifty teenagers arrived before dawn on a Sunday morning to help the police department prepare for the “Tinkerbell Marathon,” a half-marathon hosted by Disney.
They are the Police Explorers and Sunday was the latest example of their crucial role with APD.
“We literally couldn’t function at the level we do without them,” said Ofc. Jake Gallacher. “They are responsible for innumerable jobs throughout the community, and they make up our department’s future.”
Fifty explorers gathered at 3:00 am Sunday morning for instructions. They would handle traffic, crowd control, and ensure the estimated 30,000 runners’ overall safety.
The event went smoothly and the group gained valuable experience, Gallacher said.
POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) has found that background check failures are increasing because of experimentation in adolescence related to drug use, gangs, and other issues that automatically disqualify applicants.
Police Explorer is a volunteer position Anaheim students ages 14-21 can apply for. It establishes a “career pipeline” that helps participants avoid those poor choices, Gallacher says.
Explorers must maintain a 2.5 Grade Point Average, attend weekly meetings, and dedicate a minimum of 10 volunteer hours to APD each month. There are currently 100 active Explorers at Anaheim – the largest single-site post in the county.
“We are incredibly proud of what the program has grown into,” said Gallacher. “Students are coming in and learning what it takes to be successful at our department at an early age. We can’t possibly exaggerate how much we enjoy being role models for these kids.”
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