By Scott Bolthouse
Hub Editor In Chief
20 youth ranging from 7th grade to high school seniors stood up before the Board of Trustees on Wednesday night during a presentation announcing the revival of the Police Explorers Program.
The program, which includes only youth from within the Huron community, was initiated in 2005 by Huron Township Corporals Keith Nickrand and Brian Tyitye. The program was cut in 2012 due to financial constraints.
According to Police Chief Everette Robbins, re-impementing this program was a priority that started in 2014.
Robbins, along with Tyitye and Nickrand, contacted the Huron Township Rotary and requested their assistance with funding for the program.
“We were approached by the police chief to help with resurrecting the police explorers group,” said Huron Rotary President John Chont during Wednesday evening’s meeting.
Following a presentation by the police department during a recent Rotary meeting, assistance was initially approved to outfit 15 Police Explorers. However, due to a high level of interest, the Huron Rotary approved a final number of 20 Police Explorers.
The program now has a waiting list.
Initial funding for the program was completely paid for by the Huron Rotary. Some Rotary members also paid for a portion of the added expenses out of their own pocket, according to Chont.
“We as members felt that this project was so beneficial to building a relationship with our police and students that the members of the rotary covered the additional expenses out of their own pockets,” said Chont.
Proceeds from the recent Harley Davidson Raffle were also used to help fund the program. Additional funds will be raised through future fundraising efforts.
Each Police Explorer was provided with a full uniform consistent with the one worn by Huron Township Officers, a belt and a pair of uniform boots.
“The Explorers will receive monthly training that consists of everything from police training to things that will help them become productive members of our community,” said Robbins.
The Police Explorers will be seen around the community working different events.
“As an organization, we have talked a lot about building community partnerships. This is a perfect example of the types of relationships we hope to continue to build within the community. The Huron Rotary really stepped up and made this happen for a lot of young people who may have never gotten this opportunity otherwise,” said Robbins.
“I am very proud of the passion and dedication that Corporals Nickrand and Tyitye bring to this program. They are great role models for these young men and women,” he said.
The program has a rich past in Huron Township, with many former members going forward to accomplish great things.
Brendon White, a former explorer, is currently a Border Patrol Agent in Laredo Texas. Former Explorer Jeremy Cady is now a Wayne County Deputy and has run for public office two times.
Former Explorer Christopher Ochs served in the military and was deployed to Afghanistan. Ochs offered to return as a mentor for the current group of Police Explorers.
“The Police Explorer program is really about investing in not only the future of these young men and women, but the future of our community. It was truly a very proud moment for me at the board meeting last night,” Robbins said.
“Looking into the group, it is easy to see future police officers, firefighters, or maybe even another military hero such as Chris Ochs. We want to teach these kids that they can be anything they want to be and make sure they know that we’ll be here to help them along the way,” he said.
Robbins noted special thanks to Melissa Hunt and the staff of Priority One Emergency in Belleville for all of their hard work putting the uniforms together for the program.