It's been almost a year since the Albany County Sheriff's office created the Explorers Program in conjunction with the Boy Scouts of America. Since then, 19 students have learned hands on about various public safety fields. YNN's Karen Tararache has more on the program and what it's taught the Deputy Explorers.
ALBANY, N. Y. -- Ryan McCullough insists, "I would just be home doing nothing right now if this program didn't exist."
But instead, he is learning about what it takes to be a Sheriff's deputy. The only difference here is, as Sergeant Martin Zaloga explained, "They get to see everything that we do and they get to do it."
The Albany County Sheriff's Explorer Program offers 19 students the opportunity to see what it takes to have a career in public safety.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said, "We will show them what they need to become a correction officer, a dispatcher, a deputy sheriff or whatever the case may be or some people want to participate in their local police department and that's fine because it's really the same fundamentals, it's just a different uniform."
Deputy Explorer Greg Kipp said, "What I like is its more hands on you could see what they're actually doing."
A part of the program allows Deputy Explorers participate in ridealongs.
"Sometimes it's slow, sometimes it's fast, but I get to be in the vehicle and see him conduct the traffic stops, so you get as close as you can," Ashlee DeMarco said.
Zaloga added, "They see cops and they see TV shows where its go go go from call to call, but they find that a lot of times, it's just down time, it's observing, it's finding something out there."
Together for two hours, twice a month, these deputy explorers don't end up graduating, per se, but rather continue on to become a part of the team.
"I know that they're probably going to end up working for us or probably in another public service agency in the county somewhere," Apple said.
"It really teaches us how to be a unit instead of individuals. It really teaches us how to work as a team," Kipp said.
Ryan McCullough added, "I wanted to become a deputy sheriff and now that this program is here, I have the opportunity to be one-fourth of the way there. I can experience what it's like."
The Explorer Program is hoping to raise money for a trip to Chicago to participate in a National Competition. They are hosting a fundraiser spaghetti dinner at the Sheriff's department's Clarksville station on Sunday, October 20th. The event takes place from 3 to 7 p.m. and tickets are $10.
For more information on how you can get involved in the Explorer Program, head to www.albanycounty.com/deputyexplorer.