Police Explorers Q&A

Lauren McDonnell, Reporter

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The Police Explorers are made up of young adults between the ages of 14 and 21 years old. They learn about all aspects of law enforcement, such as CSI, tactics, DUI, gun safety, radio codes, and more. This is a volunteer position and service hours may be used toward required volunteer hours with their respective educational institutions. The Explorers are currently recruiting!
The Laguna Beach Police Explorer Post 1016 was founded to give our local youth an introduction into a career in law enforcement. Many previous Laguna Beach Police Explorers have gone on to work for various federal, state and local law enforcement agencies including Laguna Beach.

Tanner Flagstad went through the Police Explorer program and has answered the following questions about his experience. Flagstad is an alumni of Laguna Beach High School and was involved in the program while in high school. He continues to pursue a career in law enforcement.

Q: Is the Police Explorers program a summer or year-long opportunity?
Flagstad: The Police Explorer program is a yearlong program. You can join at 14 and you can stay till your 21st birthday.

Q: How many hours did you put into the job as an explorer?
Flagstad: Too many to count. I would estimate my hours at approximately 2000.

Q: What was your daily routine for your job?
Flagstad: My daily routine as an Explorer, included a few things. I would assist officers and other people at the police department with everyday tasks such as handing out flyers and directing traffic. At meetings, however, we would train on a multitude of different topics, anywhere from tactical training to how to write a police report. One of my favorite things to do as an Explorer was to go on ride-alongs. Ride-alongs gave me the opportunity to see firsthand what it was like to be a police officer and gave me insight as to how any and every different type of situation was handled.

Q: Was it difficult to balance school and being in training?
Flagstad: For me, balancing school and Explorers wasn’t too hard. I put in most of my time as an explorer on the weekends and in summer when school wasn’t in session.

Q: What made you decide to pursue this career?
Flagstad: Both my brother and my adopted brother started their careers in law enforcement as Explorers in Laguna. It wasn’t until I was old enough to join the program that I wanted to look into a career in law enforcement. I think seeing where they are now helped me make my decision. My brother works with my dad in Compton and my adopted brother works in Orange County.

Q: What type of student is usually drawn to this program?
Flagstad: I think that many different types of students are drawn to the program. I’ve seen people in the program that are taking every AP class that the school offers all the way to people that are counting the days to graduating.

Q: Is this a paid opportunity, or does one earn community service?
Flagstad: The Explorer program is a volunteer opportunity. This makes it easy for high school students to complete their required community service. Though it is a volunteer program, it makes it a lot easier to get hire for a paid position in law enforcement.

Q: What skills and experience would an individual gain by participating in this program?
Flagstad: Anyone who joins the Explorer program can expect to gain many valuable skills that are important in any job field. As an Explorer, you will learn how to communicate effectively, how to work in stressful situations, as well as a multitude of topics pertaining to law enforcement. If you ask any cop that started their career as a Police Explorer, I guarantee that they will tell you the program helped make their lives in the academy much easier because they already know many of the things that others in the academy have no idea about.

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Police Explorers Q&A