Law Enforcement Exploring, a division of Learning for Life, is a volunteer career education program for young men and women interested in learning more about the field of law enforcement.
In partnership with the Palo Alto Police Department, Explorers receive training and education in various aspects of police work, such as criminal law, crime scene investigation, first aid, traffic enforcement, patrol procedures, and more. Explorers participate in regular meetings that consist of a mix of classroom training and hands-on application of learned skills.
Explorers have opportunities to experience police work through a structured ride-along program, in which they will be able to observe officers on patrol and to participate by assisting the officers with non-hazardous assignments.
Explorers may have opportunities to provide community services like traffic control at public events, assisting with search and rescue activities, helping with responses after a natural disaster, and more (all as appropriate to the position). Police officers supervise Explorers at all times. Explorers may also perform volunteer services at the Department and participate as role players in training exercises for police officers.
In addition to law enforcement-specific activities, Explorers also participate in organized activities for team development.
Explorers are expected to attend a local Police Explorer Academy to learn the fundamentals of police work. The Academy is specific to Explorers and is entirely separate from the police academy attended by all sworn police officers. It is hosted at the College of San Mateo during the spring and fall, and runs for nine consecutive weekends (generally on Sundays, with one meeting on a Saturday).