Richmond County Sheriff's Office program gives youths hands-on policing experience

A new program at the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office will give local youths a real world, hands-on policing experience.


The Police Exploring program, which is part of the Boy Scouts of America, takes youths ages 16 to 20 with no criminal record and a good standing in school and introduces them to life in law enforcement.

“The information they’re going to be getting is a mild version of what an officer learns on the road,” said Sgt. Mike Gilliland.

The program is perfect for anyone interested in a future law enforcement career, he said. Other agencies have used the program as a recruitment tool.

It won’t just be sitting around looking at a textbook, either. Explorers will get to experience some of the excitement of being an officer by going on ridealongs and learning about arrests, how to lift fingerprints, crime scene investigation, pistol shooting and bicycle policing.

After basic training, the explorers will have the opportunity to travel and compete in areas like felon vehicle pull-overs. A competition recently took place in Gatlinburg, Tenn.

The sheriff’s office is required to have seven students enrolled to start the program. Gilliland said Monday it’s “close” and he’s still seeking more future explorers.

Applications are available at the sheriff’s office at 400 Walton Way. Applicants will be required to undergo a background check.

Anyone seeking additional information on the program can contact Gilliland at (706) 821-1467 or