The school resource officer at Crossett High School is starting a new program that will give students a look at the life of law enforcement offiers.
SRO Robert Black said the Police Explorers program is a national program that started in the Boy Scouts. Black said he found the idea through social media groups he follows.
“Some of them do programs similar to this and they say that it helps build a stronger rapport with the kids,” Black said. “ I have been wanting to get something like this started for several years but was unable to due to various reasons.”
The program will allow the participants to do ride-alongs, park cars at events like the rodeo, and direct traffic at parades and other similar activities.
“The kids can do just about anything the police can do with a few exceptions,” Black said.
There are also national conferences, leadership academies and pistol shooting competitions.
Part of the program will include a class that Black said he will be teaching twice a week during what is called E.A.G.L.E. Time. The course will cover just about anything to do with law enforcement from accident investigation to working a crime scene.
“I will also have people from other branches of law enforcement and other fields such as medical, fire, school personnel and various others that cross over into police work,” Black said.
Black said his goal is to reach as many students and parents as possible. Black said he hopes to get the students to see what it is actually like to be a police officer.
“What you see on TV is not what it is like in real life, even COPS and Live PD is edited,” Black said. “I want for not only the students but adults to have a better understanding of law enforcement.”
The program was created with the idea to bring the community and the police closer together and Black said that is his goal as well.
“Everyone talks about bridging the gap between police and the community and I totally agree, this is just my way of contributing to the construction,” Black said.
He said he also want students to really consider a career in law enforcement.
“I feel this will give them a good understanding and help with recruiting,” he said.
Black said one of his biggest challenges is getting people interested because the police have such a bad name.
“No one wants to be the police now a days. Police have a bad name due to a few bad ones,” Black said.
However, he said he wouldn’t let that discourage him and he’s going to keep working to drive interest in the program.
Because of time restrictions, classroom size and COVID restrictions, Black said they will have to limit the program to 20 students but there will be a waiting list in case someone drops out or is removed from the program.
Black said he is thankful for the school and the community support to get this program off the ground and he is excited to see where the program will be this time next year.
Black said Crossett Mayor Crystal Marshall and Police Chief J.W. Crude, as well as Superintendent of Schools Gary Williams and CHS Principal Anthony Boykin have all signed off on the proposal.