Youths and adults interested in law enforcement and the criminal justice field will soon have an opportunity to work closely with the Monroe City Police Department to learn more about those subjects.

Monroe City Police Chief Tyler Wheeler has taken preliminary steps to implement an Explorer program for youths and a Citizens Academy for adults through the police department.

The Explorer program is for youngsters in grades nine through 12 who are interested in law enforcement and criminal justice careers.

Individuals who complete the Explorer program will be eligible to receive grants upon graduation from high school.

Participants will learn the process of law enforcement from traffic control to learning how to read case law. Wheeler noted one advantage of the Explorer program is that participants learn not only the physical aspect of law enforcement but also how to work within the community.

“They will work closely with us,” Wheeler said. He explained that although the Explorer program will be taught in a classroom situation, students will also have hands on opportunities, such as assisting with traffic control at ball games and other events.

Both the Explorer program and the Citizens Academy are fully funded by grants and will be no financial drain on the Monroe City Police Department.

Wheeler plans to have packets explaining the program available at the start of school along with instructions on how to apply for the program.

Among his first steps, Wheeler said is getting the school board and teachers involved in the implementation of the program although law enforcement personnel will teach the Explorer classes. He will also have to form a committee through the police department to select the participants in the program from the applicants.

Wheeler plans to use the new D.A.R.E. officer as the School Resource Officer. He is currently working on the preliminary steps and anticipates having the details of the program worked out by the end of July.

If the Explorer program is successful Wheeler said he plans to implement a Citizens Academy next spring and would start reaching out to the community in November or December to determine if there is enough interest to start the program.

Studying the various steps involved in a crime scene investigation; a hands on mock traffic accident investigation; how to deal with impaired and DWI drivers and the correct way to perform a search and seizures are just some of the subjects that will be taught in the Citizens Academy classes.

The Citizens Academy’s four-hour classes will be held one-day-a-week for six weeks. It is not certain at this time where these classes will be held. Adults interested in participating in the Citizens Academy are encouraged to contact Wheeler at the police department.