(Posted July 16, 2018)
By Renee Gannon, Staff Writer
If you are a teen or young adult interested in a career in law enforcement, reach out to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and ask about Explorer Post 749.
The program, open to ages 14 to 21, offers hands-on experience in the field of law enforcement. Cadets learn and work alongside local sheriff’s deputies. Sgt. Anna Bingman serves as the post’s advisor.
“It’s like an internship. Members learn the ins and outs of what we do,” Bingman said of the co-ed group, part of Learning for Life, an affiliate of Boy Scouts of America.
The group meets monthly at the Sheriff’s Office in London, taking a couple of months off in late summer. Members who are 16 or older go on ride-alongs with deputies as often as they like. All members pitch in on community service projects and lend a hand at community events.
“The cadets are given a whistle, chain and ID and also need to carry a pen and paper,” Bingman said. “They are not exposed to dangerous situations and never carry firearms, however, the cadets do get to experience what it is like to shoot a firearm.”
At their June meeting, the cadets received new uniforms, which they debuted at the Madison County Fair last week. During the fair, cadets helped deputies with traffic control, crowd control at the grandstands, reuniting lost children with their parents, and watching for suspicious activity.
“It was a great opportunity for them to get hands-on experience,” Bingman said.
The requirements for acceptance into the program are rigid.
“Not just anyone can become a cadet of Explorer Post 749,” Bingman said.
Individuals interested in participating must have permission from their parents, maintain good grades and attendance in school, and secure a letter of recommendation from a teacher. They must fill out an application, submit an essay explaining why they want to be a member of the Explorer Post, and go through an interview.
Mason Howard, 17, is going into his third year as a cadet.
“My uncle was an influence for me. He was a cop and that made me want to be a cop,” he said.
Mitchell Henson is the post’s longest serving cadet and now serves as an assistant advisor. He joined the post when he was 14 and is now 22. He was the first to earn the title of sergeant cadet.
Bingman said Henson has always been very focused and committed to a career in law enforcement. He has even started a private investigation company.
Savanah Garverick is coming up on her first-year anniversary as an Explorer Post member.
“One of my favorite activities was delivering Christmas boxes to the needy,” she said.
Explorer Post 749 currently has five registered members, four of whom are active. In addition to Bingman, deputies Jake Gibson and Mike Stone serve as advisors.
“The cadets go on ride-alongs with us so that they can be exposed to some of the situations they will encounter if they decide to become a deputy,” Stone said.
“It’s about letting the cadets experience the real world out there, getting to see and experience situations that they might have never been subjected to if they weren’t in the program,” Bingman added.
For more about becoming a member of Explorer Post 749, contact Sgt. Anna Bingman at firstname.lastname@example.org.