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Austin Resurrecting Police Explorer Program; Could Help With Recruitment

July 12, 2018 08:00 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- It’s a program that gives young people an insiders-look at a career.  Now at a time when it’s badly needed, it could also serve as a recruitment tool.

"It really gets the children involved into what they want to be, especially if this is a career choice they want to make,” Austin police officer Jorge Jimenez said.

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It's a profession where the number of job applicants has been falling sharply.

"30 some years ago when I applied, there were about 250," Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger said.

That's how many people on average applied for each job opening with the Austin Police Department a generation ago.

"And we just currently started a list, and we had a total of 18," Krueger said.

“Seems like we're kind of seeing that across the board across the country, and it's not always a great trend when you see the applicant pools start to decline," APD officer Dustin Hicks said.

"I believe it has a lot to do with what's happened in the last three or four years nationally where police officers are under a microscope," Krueger added.

So sometime around the start of the new school year, the Austin Police Department plans to resurrect its Police Explorer program.

"We take them through scenarios. we give them a lot of the same training we actually go through on the department as officers" said Hicks, who will also be one of the instructors for the program.

"Everything's going to be hands-on,” Jimenez added. He’ll also be an instructor. “I think they're going to be surprised at the kind of calls we go to."

"It's definitely a starter program to see if this is a line of work they might be interested in down the road," Krueger added.

“It's open to anyone age 14 to 21. The 14-year-olds need to have completed 8th-grade,” Hicks explained.

“We give them the skills so when they go to college, and they start on the criminal justice system they already have a heads up of what's going to happen,” Jimenez said.

Contact the Austin Police Department if you’d like to know more about becoming an Explorer.

Credits

Dan Conradt

Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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