Explorers Say Protecting And Serving Isn't An Easy Job

Hundreds of young people are discovering that protecting and serving isn't easy. The Gulfport Police Department's Law Enforcement Explorer Academy teaches the skills needed to work as police officers.

There were explorers eager to pick up the skills it takes to be police officers and then there was Anthony Syverson.

"So far it's been all right. It ain't been that bad. I ain't saying it's been that good, but it ain't been that bad," said the 14-year old.

With lessons on gun safety, traffic control, and police investigations many of the hundreds of teenagers are counting on the Explorer Academy to further their dreams of working in law enforcement.

Carlos Vasquez wants to join the SWAT team.

"The more I add on to what I want to do, the better I look, and the better chance I have of joining something I want to do."

Gulfport Police say the program offers something for everyone, no matter what career path they choose.

"Whether it's firearms safety, or how they wash their laundry, or how to make their beds, for a lot of these kids just going the whole week without watching t.v. or playing super-nintendo or some tv game in itself is an accomplishment," Lieutenant Alfred Sexton said.

Of course the boot camp style and the 4:30 a.m. jogs take some getting used to.

"It's hard to get up in the morning," said Tiffany Sanders. "It's hard to sleep at night. It was hard to get up. We worked hard this morning."

Experiencing the hard work that goes into becoming an officer has been an eye opening experience, even for skeptics like Anthony.

He's seen "just how much trouble it is and how much they have to go through and how much they have to do to get to where they are now. I didn't realize how much work was involved in it."

The explorers who are training this week come from six states and the United Kingdom.