In the heart of the city, the Detroit Police Department Explorers Program has served as a vital bridge between the youth in the community and Law Enforcement. With a history dating back to 1972, the Explorers Program has taught interpersonal skills and leadership training to generations of students from the age of 10 to 19.
Today, we delve into a success story of this impactful program by interviewing Neighborhood Police Officer Dan Robinson Senior, an experienced Detroit Police Officer serving for more than 25 years. Officer Robinson shares his experiences and sheds light on the transformative power of the program.
Detroit PD Law Enforcement Explorers Program
The Detroit Police Law Enforcement Explorers Program, in partnership with the Boy Scouts of America, provides a unique opportunity for youth (referred to as “Explorers”) to immerse themselves in the day-to-day operations of the Detroit Police Department. Funded by the Detroit Public Safety Foundation, the program focuses on developing skills and fostering a profound understanding of the law enforcement field. Among various learning strategies, students engage in conflict-resolution exercises, equipping them with tools to navigate challenges and become advocates for positive change.
“I’d like to describe the program as a Junior ROTC but for law enforcement,” shares Officer Robinson Sr. In the Explorers Program, students not only undergo physical training but also learn search and rescue techniques. Topics covered include domestic violence and felony stops, among others.
Former students even go on to join the police force. “Several of our officers rise through the ranks of the Explorers before officially joining the police department,” adds Officer Robinson Sr.
The Uniqueness of the Explorers Program
“The Detroit Police Law Enforcement Explorers Program empowers the kids, and we support them.” The program employs a peer-to-peer methodology. “The police department has our students participating and assisting those in need,” which ranges from shoveling snow to cleaning yards. While officers advise and teach the kids how to address certain issues, the youth are responsible for carrying out the duties necessary to address those issues or concerns.
“The kids volunteer; they’re not paid,” says Officer Robinson Sr., emphasizing that this is a way for young people to show their heart, voice, and commitment to their community. Undoubtedly, the Explorers Program prepares them for leadership in whatever field they choose.
In addition, Explorers also participate in activities such as the Thanksgiving Day Parade, fireworks, Grand Prix, National Night Out, and other community engagement endeavors.
Why Partnering With AfterSchool HQ?
In a nutshell, they had their hands full for far too long. For over 50 years, they struggled to keep up with registration forms, events, manuals, and various other tasks. Streamlining became a necessity and they seized the opportunity.
“The partnership we’ve developed with AfterSchool HQ has allowed us to reach even more people,” says Officer Robinson Sr. These days, our platform helps them save time on registrations and other processes that would normally take several hours. They can now focus on other aspects. Even if officers are unavailable to talk about the program, they can still share information and recruit new explorers.
This transition from manual processes to an efficient digital system has enabled the program to grow and flourish. Through strategic partnerships like AfterSchool HQ, the program continues to evolve, ensuring a brighter future for Detroit’s young leaders in law enforcement.