EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — The 2017 Atlantic County Law Enforcement Explorer Academy, hosted by Egg Harbor Township’s Post #94, concluded Aug. 18, graduating 34 Police Explorers, all young men and women who are interested in careers in law enforcement, according to a press release.
The camp, which brings together local posts to take a deeper look into law-enforcement practices and trends, has been offered since 2009. Open to all of Atlantic County, the largest and most established post is based in Egg Harbor Township, which acted as the host again this year and enrolled 26 of its members to the camp. The township’s post was founded in 1981 by retired Lt. Ted Kammer.
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Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office Post #29 and Cape May County Sheriff’s Office Post #1962 also sent members. Advisers from Post #94 made up the majority of the academy staff. The weeklong collective camp is held locally every two years, though the individual posts meet regularly. In the alternating years between the camps, the participants attend the national conference.
Egg Harbor Township police Officer Joseph Griffiths, director of the academy and leader of Post #94, said the Explorer programs give teenagers insight into law enforcement.
“We cover the different career options, from patrol and investigations to corrections,” said Griffiths, who participated in the program before becoming a police officer. “The Explorers get to do ride-alongs, have rare behind-the-scenes tours and are introduced to important guest speakers. They are getting exposed to things that other teens their age are not. It builds confidence and discipline and gives them experience they can use moving forward.”
The program is open to any Atlantic County resident between 14 and 20 years old.
During camp week, the Explorers underwent daily drill inspections, learned basic defensive tactics and participated in various scenarios, as well as traffic control and first aid. They studied New Jersey’s laws and took a tour of the Atlantic County jail.
The camp participants were Dayana Giron, Jared Jacobo, Jocelyn Pelaez, Sangenys Estrella, David Reaves, Natashalie Gonzalez, Jasmine Garcia, Ethan Matuzsan, Victoria Diaz, Nicole Ruiz, Brooke Oliver, Franklin Escobar, Nolan Burgos, Leslie Sanchez, Sarah Kawejsza, Kirsten Pruitt, Jacob Stake, Ariel Roman, Alyssa Lazlo, Stephanie Castro, James Gonzalez II, Wendy Gonzalez, Maverin Lazaro, Jodalys Gonzalez, Christopher Rath, Allison Roselle, Daniel Dorfman, David Souza Jr., Matthew Hedrick, Jack Peterson Jr., Keshon Davis, Davion Rodriguez, Dylan Ferrell and Keith McKinney.
“This was a challenging camp. They were physically exhausted when they left each day, and then they had to go home and study for the tests the next day,” Griffiths said. “We want to spread the word so people will know about us. Come out to a meeting. You can join us at any time.”
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Besides hands-on law-enforcement training, Explorers can earn volunteer hours through community service, a key component colleges look for in admissions decisions, Griffiths said. The post meets Monday nights at 6:30 p.m. at the Egg Harbor Township Police Department. For more information, visit ehtpost94.org.