Columbia Police Department: Youth Services - Columbia Police Department

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What is the Explorer Program?

The Columbia Police Department (CPD) Explorer Post is dedicated towards the success, training, and overall aptitude of the youth within its ranks. The explorer post consists of young adults between the ages of 14-20 years old, who are looking to make a career in law enforcement. However, many youth who join our ranks may not go into law enforcement when they reach the proper age. Many of them choose careers in the military, medical field, sports, and many other fields of employment. The explorer program gives these individuals excellent leadership training, mental discipline, focus, team building skills, superior physical fitness training, and real world training that will help them in any profession that they desire! The CPD Explorer program is a fully chartered member under the Boy Scouts of America. Serving as one of its many youth branches, the CPD Explorer program enjoys all the benefits and rights as a Boy Scouts of America member.

Who runs the CPD Explorer Program?

The CPD Explorer Post is run by fully certified and highly skilled law enforcement officers within the department. These law enforcement officers are responsible for training, evaluating, and recruiting qualified youth into the program. These officers are dedicated to the success and overall well being of each explorer into the post.

What do CPD Explorers do?

CPD Explorers are an integral part of the police department. They are involved in many community building roles, support efforts, and any area they are deemed needed. You will see explorers helping out at USC Football games, homeless shelter and food drives, youth mentoring summits, and so much more! Explorers are also trained in the area of law enforcement tactics. Explorers will receive training that is used by certified police officers. Some of the areas explorers will be instructed in are South Carolina Code of Laws, Firearms Training, Physical Fitness, Emergency Vehicle Operations, Defensive Tactics, Advanced Tactical Training, First Aid and CPR, Public Speaking, Courtroom Testimony, and much more. Explorers also take part in law enforcement competitions across the state and country. Explorers get to pit their skills against other explorer post across the state in an effort to show their excellence! Each explorer is molded to become leaders from the time they step foot into our program. We are always improving and evolving our program to become the best in the state! Many explorers that reach the age of 21 are usually hired within their governing police department!

How does one become a CPD Explorer?

There is a process to become a CPD Explorer. Interested candidates must first submit an application of interest to the department, (
Click here to fill out an application). Once the application is received and reviewed, the applicant will be contacted to complete the department’s Physical Agility Test (PAT). After satisfactory completion of the test, the candidate will be called in for a panel interview. The interview will consist of law enforcement officers and current members of the explorer leadership team. The candidate will then undergo a background screening and reference check. Once all this has been completed without any issues, the candidate will be called back in for a final interview where they may be offered a position with the post. Candidates that accept the appointment will be placed on a ninety day probation period where they will be evaluated and taught the basic tenants of the explorer post mission. After ninety days, they will be accepted as fully fledged explorer and given their Columbia Police Department explorer patch.  

Is there a cost to be an explorer?

Each explorer must pay a yearly fee of $16.00. This fee goes toward registering them under the charter of the Boy Scouts of America. This also goes toward the insurance that is placed on every individual explorer. This protects then during training, official approved duties, and during competitions.  

Do I have what it takes to become an explorer?

If you are hard working, honest, driven, possess team building skills, and dedicated, you are on the right track to becoming a CPD Law Enforcement Explorer! The training, camaraderie, and skills you will acquire as an explorer is second to none. The question is, “Do YOU have what it takes to face and conquer the CPD Explorer challenge?” If you do, then we are waiting for you! Contact us at (803)545-4452 and take the first step in becoming part of the elite!!


E.S.C.A.P.E. Youth Awareness Program

We live in a society where criminal activity touches every facet of life. Many of these crimes rank at different levels in comparison, but none so brutal when it targets our youth. Our youth are the next generation of doctors, lawyers, police officers, and sport stars. Anytime one of them is victimized, we may lose a potential leader. We need to be the protector of our youth and help educate them on ways to stay safe. To help aid in this protection, I introduce to you the E.S.C.A.P.E. Youth Awareness Program.

E.S.C.A.P.E. stands for Educating Students and Children on Anti-Abduction and Protection Essentials. The purpose of this program is to help youth avoid, identify, escape, and fight back against the criminal that are intending to do them harm. We must face the fact that there are people who exists that prey on the innocence of children. Our children are vulnerable, and may not possess the skill or ability to detect a possible threat. For example, how many children would turn down the chance to pet a sweet fluffy puppy in the back of a van? How many of them will turn down the opportunity to come in an unknown house to get a brand new Madden football video game? They may not know, but the potential criminal does! This is how they will lure our kids into a situation where they can get physically assaulted, sexually assaulted, abducted, or worse.

E.S.C.A.P.E. will address several issues that are imperative to the safety of youth. These issues will be discussed in order below, and will be crucial to the success of the program.

Children will be put in a situation to see how they will react to someone trying to lure them into a potential harmful situation. This will be an important phase for parents to see. They can see how their child will react and see how easy it may be for their child to get victimized. The child will then be taught important avoidance and verbalization skills to stay away from would be attackers.

Participants will learn how to identify potential criminal intent on doing them harm. They will learn how to report such things as gender, race, clothing, physical dimensions, and location while under physical and mental duress. This will be crucial for parents and law enforcement.  Not only will this help participants in this instance, but in overall awareness throughout life! In this section, parental involvement is crucial. They also need to know how to participate in this stage and how to help their kids identify potential threats.

Even when the first two factors are done, their may come a time when participants must learn to defend themselves and escape an attacker. They will learn practical and effective self defense techniques that will aid in their safety and escape if they are grabbed or accosted. These techniques would include both physical and verbal. The verbal side is very important of the self protection process as well. Learning what to say and how to say it can mean the difference between safety and danger. All of these segments will be totally interactive and rely on real life role playing for maximal effectiveness and learning. It will be done in a fun yet serious format.


To schedule a time for the ESCAPE to come to your organization, contact Agent Lance Adams at (803)545-4452 or email us at LLADAMS@COLUMBIASC.NET. Please allow ten days’ notice up to the time of your event. We look forward in having the opportunity to keep your youth safe!!


Operation R.I.S.K.
Youth diversion program

Operation R.I.S.K. (Rescuing Inner City Students and Kids) is a proactive and educational youth program that is designed to help deter youths 11-16 from criminal behavior or association. The goal of Operation R.I.S.K. is to educate youth on the importance of making right decisions, and the potential consequences they can face as a result. This program also gives parents an effective alternative in helping their child become responsible and productive members of society.

Operation R.I.S.K. participants will undergo a 24 hour session in which they will experience firsthand an incarceration type setting. They will then be offered the proper resources and aid through CPD, community partners, and youth organizations dedicated to their success. Participants will be under the watchful care and supervision of experienced Columbia Police Department officers and staff. After the program is complete, constant contact will be kept with participants and their families to further aid in their overall development.

If you feel this program can help your child, you must follow the following steps below:

  • Fill out in its entirety the online Operation R.I.S.K. application (click here) and information form. Please be thorough in answering all the questions so we can better help your child.

  • You will be contacted by a representative of the Columbia Police Department to discuss the issues with your child via phone or face to face (child not present).
  • If your child is admitted into the program, you will be given a date, time, and location, to bring your child to the session. You must be prompt and on time or your child will relinquish their reserved session spot.
  • The cost for this program is only $25.00 per participant. This fee is to cover the cost of three meals participants will be provided during the program.
  • Participants must bring ONLY the following items: 1 towel, 1 washcloth, 1 toothbrush, 1 tube of toothpaste, 1 small squeeze tube of soap (no bars), 1 stick of deodorant, 1 pair of undergarments. No other items will be allowed. All items must be brought in a small see through plastic bag with the participants name written clearly on the outside in visible ink.
  • Parents or guardians must attend a mandatory two hour session at the beginning of Phase 1, and one hour after Phase 1 of the program is complete. Your child will not be allowed to participate if this is not done.
  • A good contact number must be provided to the Operation R.I.S.K. liaison officer in case of emergencies.

Candidates for the Operation R.I.S.K. Program will be chosen on a first come and as needed basis. Participants will be selected based on the totality of circumstances and issues that is surrounding a potential candidate. A maximum number of fifteen participants will be allowed during one session.

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