Monday, December 14, 2009

New Explorer Program in Los Angeles Free From Boy Scout Control

According to this article, the LAPD plans to launch its own Explorer program for young people this month, removing the Boy Scouts of America from management, officials said Tuesday.

The Police Commission voted two months ago to end its relationship with the Scouts because of the organization's policies that discriminate against gays. The program had been operated by the Learning for Life Foundation, a subsidiary of the Boy Scouts.

The move to create the Los Angeles Police Department's own teen program should be launched by Jan. 1, Deputy Chief Earl Paysinger told the Police Commission.

"We have received inquiries from dozens of agencies on what we're doing," Paysinger said. "We think once the LAPD breaks away, other agencies will as well."

The biggest challenge in creating the program has been raising money, Paysinger said, but more than $25,000 has been collected so far to help cover the costs of uniforms, badges and patches.

The Explorer program introduces teens to law enforcement as a career, by having them work in stations alongside officers and assist in a variety of policing programs.

Before becoming Explorers, teens must take 96 hours of training in an academy. More than 250 cadets are expected to graduate soon and enter the new program, which has not yet been named. About 3,000 young people are currently enrolled as Explorers.

"We have found wide support ... and a great understanding about why we are making this change," Paysinger said.

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