Prospective members of law enforcement are gaining new insights into local efforts, thanks to the newly established Explorers Post 301 with the Bellmead Police Department.

“The purpose is to give (participants) a positive interaction with law enforcement and to give them the objectives of what we do on a daily basis,” Bellmead police Sgt. Brenda Kinsey said. “This is a new post for Bellmead, and our hope is to grow this as large as we can and encourage the positive impact with law enforcement.”

Advisers and volunteers within the Bellmead Police Department established Explorer Post 301 last month with the goal of helping spread community understanding and introducing students between the ages of 14 and 21 to police work locally. Kinsey, the post commander, said a total of seven students with an interest in law enforcement are already enrolled in the program.

“Sometimes the only interaction kids have with law enforcement is a negative one when we to have to interact with them during a domestic disturbance or something similar,” Kinsey said. “This will give participants an understanding of the complexities of the job, and they can see if they want to pursue a career in law enforcement.”

Bellmead Police Chief Lydia Alvarado said starting the Bellmead Explorer post was a community outreach idea for several years. After some department restructuring, Alvarado said she believed the need for community interaction with local officers was paramount in moving forward.

“Rather than wait until the world slowed down, which I don’t think it will here, I decided to go ahead with the proposal,” Alvarado said. “I think every city needs a crime prevention and community outreach position and it is just absolutely necessary to have.”

The Explorers program is a branch of the Boy Scouts of America, and both boys and girls are eligible to apply. With an application fee of $32.50, participants are allowed to enroll if they are in school, or have graduated from high school, maintain a “C” average and have parental permission if they are underage.

“We are trying to show that we are human, just like you are, and we want to build the bridge over the gap between officers and the community,” Kinsey said. “Sometimes Bellmead can get a bad rap from outside communities. I know we have a good community here and a lot of people who care about our community, so it is time to bring more involvement together with the police department.”

Throughout the yearlong program, Bellmead Explorers will participate in community opportunities and team-building events. Students also learn practical police skills and procedures like executing search warrants and processing crime scenes during hands-on activities.

Kinsey said guidance from advisers with the Waco Police Explorer Post 415 helped the Bellmead group get started. The Waco post was recognized as the Texas Law Enforcement Explorer Advisors Association’s Explorer Post of the Year in July.

For more information about Bellmead Explorers Post 301 or for an application, contact Kinsey at 799-0251, 300-2590 or bkinsey@bellmead.com.

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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