Future law enforcement officers participating in Takoma Park PD’s Explorer program held a carwash today to raise money for some end of summer fun, as well as field trips and general expenses.
According to Captain Tyrone Collington Sr., the program that trains high schoolers for a future career in police work is the first of its kind in the department since it opened in 1920.
“They learn drilling ceremony, traffic law, CPR, the Code of Conduct,” said Captain Collington. “The camaraderie, teamwork, inclusiveness – we’ve got a diverse group here. We have more females than males. We have some who want to be detectives, some forensics, some canine, and we’re very thankful to all the residents who came out to show that they support us – that they believe in youth, that they believe in our program.”
Among those supporters was Mayor Kate Stewart, who came with her husband Jon Griffith to have their cars washed.
“Our explorer program is a perfect program for getting young people to understand the work of our officers, getting to know them better,” said Mayor Stewart. “It’s part of the work we’re doing in the community to build stronger relationships and so we’re just thrilled to come out in support.”
“Plus, our cars are really dirty,” added Griffith with laugh.
For 15-year-old Kye Johnson of Meade High School, the program is a way for him to get a head start on what has been a family career.
“My uncle works [in law enforcement], my Grandfather worked at a juvenile facility in Washington D.C. for half his life and my great-grandfather was one of the first black police officers in the District,” said Johnson.
He plans to be an officer in the future, and is enjoying the chance to start training now with the Explorers.
“I want to keep the streets safe, protect the community, put a good name out there for police,” Johnson said, gesturing to the other Explorers washing cars alongside officers. “All of us are like a family – brothers and sisters.”
Maxima Pacheco, a 15-year-old at Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School in Takoma Park, hopes to be a blood-splatter analyst one day.
“My friend overhead me talking about what I want to be and he was in this program and told me I should come.”
She’s participated ever since, and became CPR-certified through the Explorers.
Sargeant Michelle Holmes, Cadet Atakilt, Angelina Cannatella and Ron Hardy were also present, helping wash cars, grill food and pass out drinks for their future comrades.
“We want to help out as much as possible while training to become a policeman in the future,” said 17-year-old Sam Candaffio, a student at Northwest High School in Germantown, of the Explorers program. “It’s just a lot of fun.”