PORTSMOUTH, Va. – As summer winds down, a group of teenagers in Portsmouth is taking the opportunity to learn more about law enforcement.
The Portsmouth Police Department is hosting a week-long introductory session to its Explorers Program, which is a year-round educational program designed for teens and young adults ages 14-21.
“Our Explorers do everything from community service events; they assist with 5K runs, parades,” described Officer Allen Washington with the Community Enhancement Division of Portsmouth Police Department. “So, our Law Enforcement Explorers is basically a law enforcement JROTC version of what the military has.”
This week’s program is designed for ages 13-16. In it, teens learn everything from physical fitness, to defense tactics and first aid training, to traffic safety. In addition, police say it helps them learn team-building skills and leadership skills.
“So, it bridges the gap between our local youth and our law enforcement in our city,” stated Officer Washington. “We get a better understanding of our youth. Our youth gets a better understanding of us, because they start to learn why it is that we do what we do on the street. So, they get a better understanding and they’re less likely to be afraid of us, they’re more likely come to us, and we need recruits.”