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Young people explore police work through local organization

Dec. 24, 2012

Deciding upon a career path can be a difficult and scary choice to make, but the Village of Mukwonago Police Department (MPD) is helping young people decide if law enforcement work is right for them.

Off and on for several years, the MPD has offered a program called Police Explorers, "a version of Boy Scouts geared toward learning about police work," explained MPD officer and former Police Explorer Cory Kirkpatrick. MPD recently began another session of Police Explorers with a kickoff event on Dec. 4.

"It's an opportunity for them to get to know us and for us to get to know them," said Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick explained that the program is open to Mukwonago area boys and girls ages 14 to 21. Students spend an hour once a month learning about police work; from the history of the department to patrol techniques and what to do during domestic violence calls.

"We take them hand-in-hand and teach them police work," Kirkpatrick explained.

He added that it gives students interested in police work a head start. For those who don't end up going into police work, the life skills learned during the program will carry over into any career and many life situations, such as communication skills, report writing, responsibility and learning to work with sensitive matters, to name a few.

Students are able to get hands-on experience during ridealongs and learn about other areas of law enforcement through visits from the Sheriff's Department, canine units, border patrol and more.

"We want to encompass as many types of law enforcement as we can," Kirkpatrick said.

Another part of the program is competitions where students compete against Police Explorers training with other departments. They compete by simulating a police offer during various situations such as a traffic stop, domestic violence call and an active shooter. The Police Explorers are judged by sworn officers on their ability to demonstrate the knowledge they've acquired during training.

"It's a great program," said Kirkpatrick. It's beneficial not only for the life skills but also "so that (students) can say yes, this is what I want to do for my career, or no, I want to go somewhere else."

Police Explorers is offered through the Potowatomi Council, which also has explorers in aviation, firefighting and more. If students are still with the program at age 21, they are eligible to join the police reserve program before they go on to law-enforcement school.

The second class is being held at the Mukwonago Police Department, 627 S. Rochester St. at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 8. Everyone is welcome, even if you missed the first meeting in December. A price for the class hasn't been set, but Kirkpatrick said it will be nominal. Students will not be turned away if they are unable to pay.

For more information, contact the MPD at (262) 363-6434.

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