05/11/11 — Goldsboro police department Explorer Scouts picked for national academy

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Goldsboro police department Explorer Scouts picked for national academy

By Gary Popp
Published in News on May 11, 2011 2:22 PM

Two young men in the Goldsboro Police Department's Explorer Scouts program have been selected to participate in leadership academies held in Washington, D.C., this summer.

Marcus Lewis, 20, has been with the Explorer Scouts since 2007 and will attend an academy held by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Chase Serlick, 16, has been an Explorer since 2008 and will attend a similar, week-long academy held by the U.S. Marshals Service.

Serlick is a student at Charles B. Aycock High School and says he expects the academy to build on the skills he has learned in the Explorer program.

"I think I will learn a lot more leadership skills, and it will help me decide if the Marshals Service is something I want to go into," Serlick said.

Lewis, a student at Wayne Community College, said he is looking forward to his experience with FBI officials.

"I expect to gain a lot. I will learn more in depth about the F.B.I. and what they actually do," Lewis said.

Serlick and Lewis are two of the brightest of the program that is offered year-round to young men and women by the Goldsboro Police Department.

The Law Enforcement Explorer Post 209 is open to 14- to 20-year-olds who want to learn what it takes to be a cop.

For Serlick, the Explorer program, which was recommended to him by his brother, was his first exposure to something he had always had an interest in.

"I knew as soon as the first lesson that this is something I would do for the rest of my life," Serlick said. "This program is something I want to do, and this program showed me what to expect."

Lewis said as an Explorer Scout he has had countless positive experiences.

"I have had the opportunity to bond with some of the officers and ask them questions related to law enforcement or just anything," he said.

He added that he was thankful to the officers that have given up their time to get involved.

Sgt. Trey Ball, a former Explorer Scout, serves as the Senior Explorer adviser.

"We take kids that are truly interested in law enforcement," Ball said. "We try to instill some discipline, good character skills and judgment."

By taking part in the Explorer Scout program, young people can be put on track to a career in law enforcement.

"Our normal meetings consist of some type of law enforcement training. We take the state's training material for police academy and kind of break it down for the kids. They get some of the same training that officers get in academy," Ball said.

Two-hour meetings, which are held once a week, include training on traffic stops, report writing, domestic crisis intervention, criminal law, traffic-crash investigation and arrest and search techniques.

"They get training on the whole gamut," Ball said.

Ball said there are currently three officers at the Goldsboro Police Department who previously served as Explorer Scouts.

Other former Explorers have gone to work at Wayne County Sheriff's Office, the state Highway Patrol and other law enforcement officers in eastern North Carolina, Ball said.

"We need good officers in Goldsboro, just like anywhere else. We can almost grow our own here, especially, if they stay in the program five or six years and they get a good grasp of it," Ball said. "They get familiar with Goldsboro Police Department and some of the officers. They do ride-along, and they develop relationships with officers."

Ball said it is not uncommon for an Explorer Scout to enter the program at 14 or 15 years old and stay in the program until leaving for college, military service or a career.

"Most of the kids that we get are pretty squared away. They do well in school. They are pretty well-rounded kids," Ball said.

Recently the Explorers have volunteered to work events such as Pig in the Park, Wings Over Wayne and Cop on Top of a Doughnut Shop, held at Krispy Kreme.

The Explorers received praise from Interim Chief Jeff Stewart for their help during the air show.

Ball said while the program's roster is limited to about 25 Explorers, and there are around 12 to 14 active Explorers who regularly attend the meetings. Many of the Explorers have commitments with school, church and other activities.

"A lot of them are leaders in their ROTC and school council. They are good kids," he said.

Ball said not all Explorers go into to careers in law enforcement, and that is OK.

"All in all it is just developing good citizens for the future and if we can do that, even if they don't come in to law enforcement, they are still a benefit to us," he said.