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Arlington Police want to restart Explorer Program

Arlington Police Officer Seth Kinney will be reviving the department’s explorer post which has been on hiatus for the past two years. - Adam Rudnick
Arlington Police Officer Seth Kinney will be reviving the department’s explorer post which has been on hiatus for the past two years.
— image credit: Adam Rudnick

ARLINGTON — Seth Kinney knows the importance of police explorers — after all, he was one.

“I did crowd control, ride-alongs, all kinds of things,” said Kinney, now an officer with the Arlington Police Department. “It had a good impact on my life.”

Two years after Arlington police shut down their police explorer post, Kinney is reviving the program.

He said he’s hoping to gather a motivated group of young adults who are interested in law enforcement to take part in the post program.

Police use explorers primarily to assist officers in their duties at city functions, parades and other related events.

“It helps connect us with youth and it gives them a chance to be part of a partnership,” Kinney said.

Arlington’s program requires explorers to be between the ages of 14-21, be enrolled in school, have at least a 2.5 GPA and be willing to commit to about 16 hours a month.

Once the department selects its explorers, they will be required to undergo a police academy-like training program. The five-day program will teach explorers basic police skills, such as how to handle vehicle stops.

Those mock academies typically happen during the summer months or when students are on winter break.

After receiving that training, members will also have a chance to take part in regional, state and national competitions using the knowledge that they’ve gained through being explorers.

City of Arlington spokeswoman Kristin Banfield said the department is looking for about 10 dedicated explorers who are willing to take part in the post, adding that more staff could be added should there be a larger demand than expected.

The department’s original explorer post started in the mid-2000s, but went on hiatus after group members graduated from high school or moved away.

“It went well in the past, but kids went to college and we weren’t able to keep backfilling the program,” said Kinney, who was not involved with the program during that time.

Arlington Police Chief Bob Sullenberger said bringing the explorer post program back to Arlington had been on his mind for the past year, ever since he was named the city’s head of law enforcement.

After some discussions within the department, Sullenberger — also a former explorer — said he decided to name Kinney as the post’s adviser because the officer was an explorer in the past.

Sullenberger started his law enforcement career in 1973 as an explorer scout with the Los Alamos Police Department in New Mexico.

Interested teenagers are encouraged to attend an informational meeting from 4-8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 27, at the Arlington City Council Chambers, located at 110 E. Third Street.

A formal presentation will take begin at 6 p.m.

The police explorer program is chartered through the Boys Scouts of America.

For more information about the explorer post, contact Kinney at 360-403-3400.

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