City of Santa Ana
Police Explorer Post #238
Police Explorers are young persons with an interest in law enforcement and community service as a career. The Explorer program is an intensive, long-term process designed to assist youth in meeting the hiring requirements of local police departments. As the hiring standards for police employees are very high, our program seeks to select Explorers who can commit several years of study and participation in order to best achieve their career goals.
Explorers attend regular training meetings to study police policy and procedure and work a variety of community events throughout Santa Ana and other cities. Explorers study law enforcement much like students study math, science, and other courses in high school. Police officers teach a variety of classes and Explorers must take notes, study reading material, and pass written and oral examinations. Unlike high school, Explorers also participate in uniformed inspections where they must adhere to strict rules regarding their uniform and be able to demonstrate their ability to think and perform under stress. The classroom environment is generally formal and Explorers are required to develop self-discipline and respect for themselves and others.
Police Explorers wear the uniform of the Santa Ana Police Department and therefore are held to a high standard of conduct and accountability. Explorers are required to follow the policies of the Department and can be removed from the program for improper conduct or failure to meet program requirements.
To become a Police Explorer, a person must be at least 14 years of age and have completed the 8th grade. Older applicants are considered but preference is given to persons who can remain in the program for a minimum of three years. Explorers must leave the program upon their 21st birthday. All applicants and Explorers must submit verification that they are maintaining a minimum of a C grade point average. Applicants with a felony record, current drug or alcohol use, or who are participating in criminal activity are not accepted. All applicants are subject to a background investigation to determine their suitability to be placed in a position of public trust. The Explorer Program maintains the right to limit the number of applicants to manageable levels based on current Departmental needs and resources. Generally, the program has a maximum of thirty Explorers.
The Explorer Post usually holds three training meetings each month and participates in events on weeknights and weekends. Demand for Explorers at events varies depending on the needs of the Department and the community. Explorers can expect to work one to three events each month and their participation is required at all events.
To join the Explorer program, an applicant is required to attend three meetings where they have the opportunity to see firsthand if the program is right for them. At the same time, they are evaluated by program Advisors who determine if the applicant appears to meet the selection criteria. At the third meeting, applicants are provided with application forms and an interview is scheduled. Applicants passing the interview and a background investigation are accepted into the program and begin a six-month probationary period. Explorers not meeting the requirements of probation are released. Those completing probation are issued an Explorer badge and are eligible to ride with police officers as they perform their duties. Additional awards and recognition are available to those Explorers who earn them. Explorers are required to purchase their uniform at a cost of about $125.00. The Department furnishes additional equipment at no cost. Explorers who lack the ability to purchase a uniform should contact the Adviser to determine what assistance might be available.
Applicants may begin the selection process at any time by attending one of the general training meetings that are held on the first three Wednesdays of each month. Applicants are not required to contact the Department prior to attending the meeting. The meetings are generally held at the Santa Ana Police Department Training Center, located within Centennial Park – 3000 W. Edinger Ave. and applicants must arrive at the location no later than 6:15 p.m. Applicants arriving late will not be admitted into the meeting. Training meetings generally conclude by 9:00 p.m. Occasionally a meeting date or location is changed so applicants may want to call to verify the meeting is being held. Applicants should arrive at the meetings with clothing appropriate for a business setting. Shorts, tank tops, sandals, or any clothing depicting inappropriate images or words are not allowed. Paper and pen should be brought for note taking. The Explorer staff reserves the right to have an applicant leave the meeting when in their judgment the applicant is disruptive, fails to meet the selection criteria, or when the presence of applicants interferes with the training being conducted.
Applicants are encouraged to attend a general meeting to have their questions answered about the Explorer program. If however, more information is required prior to attending a meeting, the Explorer Adviser Corporal Steve Ahearn, can be reached at (714) 245-8763.
Overview of Explorer Selection Process
- Be between 14 and 21 and have completed the 8th grade.
- Bring proof of a C average or better in school.
- Be free of felony arrests, current drug or alcohol use, and criminal activity.
- Attend three general meetings.
- Submit required application forms and pass an oral interview and background check.
- Complete a six-month probation period that includes written work and tests.
Being an Explorer can have a positive affect on a young person’s future. Many police officers began their careers as an Explorer and many other Explorers have gone onto good careers in other fields. The program takes hard work and discipline but provides young persons with an inside look at law enforcement and community service that few have an opportunity to experience.