Wheeling Police Department Graduates First Explorer Class
Youngsters learn what it takes to wear the badge
WHEELING — Serving as a community outreach and recruitment tool to educate area youth interested in law enforcement, the Wheeling Police Department graduated its inaugural Wheeling Police Department Explorer Post No. 1 class.
The graduation ceremony was held Wednesday evening in the auditorium at West Virginia Northern Community College in Wheeling.
Eleven graduates were guided through six classes since the end of January, as they learned about the general operations of the Wheeling Police Department and a variety of topics relating to law enforcement in general, according to Explorer Post Commander Sgt. Josh Sanders.
Members of the graduating class included: Abigail Bowman, Kyle Bailey, Maggie Delong, Mia Hammons, Kiah Johnson, Jacob Plants, Abigail Matusik, Nathan Dunfee, Logan Joseph, Ian Joseph, and Abigail Lilley.
While the program is an offset with the Boy Scouts of America’s Explorer program, participants do not have to be a Scout to participate. The program not only serves as a community outreach tool for area youth, it also promotes respect for the law.
The rank structure of the police department, traffic control and understanding criminal code and the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution are just a few of the dozens of topics the class touched on throughout the program, according to Sanders.
Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger, who took a few minutes to address the graduates and their families, said this is the first Explorer class in this region. He said the class is a community outreach effort to engage area youth between the ages of 14 to 21 and to maybe get them thinking about employment opportunities with the police department at an earlier age.
Schwertfeger said the program was just an idea they put on their “strategic plan,” which ultimately came to fruition following a lot of hard work.
“I am extremely proud of our 11 graduates and thank them and their parents for spending time with the Wheeling Police Department. I am further grateful to the Wheeling Police officers who made this important strategic planning initiative come to life,” Schwertfeger said.
Each class member received a certificate of completion at the conclusion of the ceremony with dozens of family members and friends in attendance. With the initial education phase of the class accomplished, the explorers will now spend time with officers in the patrol division and complete further education and assist with various community events and activities within the city.