Teens face the test to see if they have what it takes to earn a - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Teens face the test to see if they have what it takes to earn a badge

Those in the third year of the program went over the edge and repelled down a five-story tower at the Gulfport Fire Department. (Photo source: WLOX) Those in the third year of the program went over the edge and repelled down a five-story tower at the Gulfport Fire Department. (Photo source: WLOX)
This week, around 70 teens are getting a chance to see what it is like at the Southeastern Law Enforcement Explorer Academy. (Photo source: WLOX) This week, around 70 teens are getting a chance to see what it is like at the Southeastern Law Enforcement Explorer Academy. (Photo source: WLOX)
Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved. Officers are cramming their several month-long academy into one week, and they are not taking it easy on the explorers. (Photo source: WLOX) Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved. Officers are cramming their several month-long academy into one week, and they are not taking it easy on the explorers. (Photo source: WLOX)
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -

Not everyone has what it takes to earn a badge. Law enforcers are put through a challenging academy before they can become sworn officers. This week, around 70 teens are getting a chance to see what it is like at the Southeastern Law Enforcement Explorer Academy.

"Do field sobriety on him. Make sure he can operate a motor vehicle," an officer instructed the explorers.

Officers are cramming their several month-long academy into one week, and they are not taking it easy on the explorers.

"We went to the beach but not to have fun," Caleb Hardy said. "We run to the beach, do pushups over the sand castles."

"Waking up at 4 o'clock in the morning to do PT," said Cheryl Wilson.

The course is physically, mentally and emotionally challenging.

"It's harder than it seems, and there's a lot of things people don't know about them," Cheryl said.

"When we go out as law enforcement officers, if we make a mistake, it could cost someone's life," Biloxi Police Department Sgt. Thomas Goldsworthy said. "If we make the wrong decision, it could cost us our life, so we are trying to make them understand with discipline and motivation, that they can accomplish so much."

Students are also taught how to work as a team and to face their fears. Those in the third year of the program went over the edge and repelled down a five-story tower at the Gulfport Fire Department. Several were extremely scared of heights. One even shed a few tears going down, but they all conquered their fears and did it.

It's things like that the explorers said are not only opening their eyes to a career in law enforcement, but also making them better people.

"Looking at what the police actually did and how much they help a community, how they help keep crime off the streets, how they keep kids in homes, how they keep families and be safe, and that's just something I want to do," Nicolas Davis said.

"It has improved my leadership, my ability to cope with things and my ability to push myself," Caleb said.

Students going through the program in South Mississippi are from across the state and even as far away as Florida and Texas. One of the instructors, who started as an explorer, even flies in from London every year to help.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.


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