Columbia Police Department: Youth Services - Columbia South Carolina 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!!

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, (Adobe Reader required), (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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