Program launched to attract prospects

Kelly Richardson

For students who watched “Cops” and dreamed of one day joining the men and women in blue, Western has a program just for them.

Campus police recently started the Explorer program, which serves as training for 17 to 20-year-old full-time students seeking careers in law enforcement.

Students who take part in the Explorer program will be required to volunteer 15 hours a month and attend weekly meetings and training sessions.

Explorers will learn to take reports, check emergency phones, check cars in parking lots and direct traffic during sporting events.

Students will also participate in ride-alongs with campus police.

Patrol positions for students who are 21 and over are also available in the Explorer program. Starting salary is $5.15 an hour.

One of the major responsibilities of the students in the Explorer program is running the escort service, previously coordinated by the officers on staff.

“Explorer posts will take some of those escorts away from our officers and will free them up a bit,” campus police Sgt. Joe Harbaugh said.

Because students in the program will be running the escort service and filling out some of the simpler reports, officers will have more time to patrol the campus.

Background checks are required for any student interested in the Explorer program. The students might also be interviewed, Harbaugh said.

Both campus police and students benefit from the Explorer program. Students will be eligible for scholarships and the leadership academy in Washington, D.C., Harbaugh said.

The leadership academy is an opportunity for people interested in law enforcement to train with professionals.

Students in the Explorer program will also meet the requirements of the Peace Officers Professional Standards, a physical fitness test officers must take.

Only two students have been hired for the Explorer program.

Bardstown senior Brandon Bryan started the Explorer program earlier this month. He said he has worked with campus police before and aspires to work in law enforcement.

“It’s kind of something that I’ve always wanted to do,” he said.

Bryan has worked OARs, campus fairs, the Master Plan move-in and the escort service since starting the Explorer program.

“They’re teaching us to be police officers at Western,” he said.

Bowling Green junior Samantha Jones also plans on going into law enforcement.

“That’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was little,” she said.

Jones also began her new position earlier this month. She said she likes being out on campus and learning more about campus police.

Harbaugh said there are about 15 students who have shown interest in the Explorer program. For more information, students can contact campus police at 745-2548.

Reach Kelly Richardson at [email protected]