Union organizing Law Enforcement Explorer program
By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
April 18, 2001
UNION Police Chief A.C. Allen II and some of his officers at the Union Police Department are organizing a Law Enforcement Explorer program expected to be up and running next month.
The coed program, open to people ages 14-21 who live in Newton and Neshoba counties, is one of three phases of the Boy Scouts of America, Allen said.
Allen said Union churches host youth programs and the area has seasonal sporting activities, but the new Explorer program will be the only "year-round youth program of this caliber in Union."
Before they approved the program 5-0 earlier this month, Allen said the town's aldermen had some concerns. They wanted to know if the program would cost the town anything and if there would be liability issues.
Allen said the members of the new post will be covered under the Boy Scouts' insurance and is funded entirely by donations and program fund-raisers. Allen, some of his officers and several community members agreed to volunteer their time to organize, manage and lead program activities, he said.
He said members of other posts have taken field trips to Parchman to talk with inmates. Law enforcement officials with the FBI, Border Patrol, Secret Service and U.S. Customs often visit posts to tell members what they do and what jobs are available in their fields, he said.
Members meet weekly for two hours. They also have outings and field trips. They get hands-on training in law enforcement as well as class time. They go camping and hiking and take on community service projects, Allen said.
Recruitment efforts at the two counties' junior high and high schools will kick off soon, continuing throughout April and into May before school is out for the summer.
Allen said he also plans to meet with members of the Choctaw Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, to schedule a "first-nighter," which is a membership drive.