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Aspiring law enforcement officers learn the ropes

Sheriff's Explorer Program seeks applicants

Staff Writer

BARSTOW • It isn’t for everybody, and not everybody can do it, but the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Explorer Program will certainly provide the thrilling and not-so-thrilling aspects of the gig to young people who are willing to try.

This was the sentiment expressed by program coordinator, Deputy Cody Korkotsakis.

“It gives the kids a good inside view to see if this is something they may want to pursue as a career later on in life,” he said.

The program, which he said has been ongoing for several years, provides interested youth between 14 and 21 years of age the opportunity to learn first-hand about life on patrol and in back offices.

“The program exposes you to what law enforcement is all about,” he said, “what officers do on a daily basis.”

Explorers meet, at minimum, twice a month at the Barstow Sheriff’s station on East Mountain View — once for training and once for administrative work. Korkotsakis said explorers can call anytime, though, to arrange ride-alongs with deputies or to hang out at the station.

Administrative work includes keeping tabs on one’s work hours and watching over fundraising checking accounts. While they’re not always the most enjoyable activities, he admitted, they reflect the type of work sheriff’s deputies must also do.

On training days, explorers will learn the fundamentals of law enforcement procedures, firearms instruction, defensive tactics, the use of chemical agents, handcuffing techniques and more.

“We try to make it as fun as we can for the kids,” Korkotsakis said. “They’re always getting their hands into something — staying active.”

Past explorers have taken trips to the Sheriff’s Aviation Hanger, flown in helicopters and, this last summer, went to the Colorado River and rode on boats with the deputies.

Currently, there are about 10 explorers who are part of the program — a number Korkotsakis heard is up from recent years. In order to join, an applicant must go through a screening process, much like if applying for a job.

Korkotsakis noted he was an explorer when younger and had a couple of good friends in the program graduate from the Sheriff’s Academy. Individuals must be at least 21 years old to be sworn in as a deputy.

“We’re looking for kids to come out, get involved and have a good time,” he explained.

Anyone who is interested should request an application from the Sheriff’s Department at 225 E. Mountain View St. or call (760) 256-4838.

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