The Mint Hill Police Department is holding its annual fundraising golf tournament Saturday, October 6 at Larkhaven Golf Course on Camp Stewart Road in Charlotte to support its newly instated Police Explorer program. This national program operates under the Boy Scouts of America, though it is a non-scouting group. Mint Hill’s Police Explorers were established at the beginning of this year.
The Police Explorer program is for young people 14-20 years old who have an interest in a career in law enforcement. Police Chief, Tim Ledford, hopes the program can give some direction to kids who need it.
Applications for the program have been provided to the high schools in the area. Interested students should turn in the applications and an essay on why they want to be in the program to the police department, where a review board will choose the top applicants.
The cadets-in-training will find mentors in police officers. They will attend classes for interviewing techniques, taking fingerprints at crime scenes, and how to write a report, among other skills. Proficiency will be awarded with equipment for the duty belt. For an example, proficiency in handcuffing skills will result in handcuffs for the belt. Ledford believes this allows them to set goals and have a visual for success.
The program currently has 10 members, and the department wants to expand that to 20.
The golf tournament will raise money for the equipment needed to run the Police Explorers program. Along with equipment, Ledford would like to issue utility and Class A uniforms.
“We’d like to get some support from the community to supply the equipment and supplies to make this program a solid program,” said Ledford. He hopes the tournament will raise $5,000. If that goal is met, the department would also like to set up a scholarship program to award to members going to college to study Criminal Justice.
“It would be a major milestone in my career to see a program where we started these kids out a young age, they’ve gone through our program, and then one of them finally gets accepted as a police officer somewhere. I think that’d be great,” said Ledford.