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Explorers working to change the world

David Hicks, a Clanton Police officer and the lead instructor/director for he Clanton Police Explorers group, has spent the last four years molding several kids from the community into life saving machines.

“These kids have worked really hard to get where they are today, and the ones that grow up in the program and go on to do even bigger things just make me that much more proud. I have had several students who have graduated from the explorers program and gone on to become full time police officers, firefighters and even [emergency medical technicians],” Hicks said. “They get actual training during their time as an explorer that is accredited by the state police academy, meaning when they qualify they actually qualify like actual police and firefighters do.”

The explorers program has helped many young people learn honor, responsibility, reliability, self-respect, courage and high self-esteem. The group spends most of their time furthering their education in police and medical fields. They spend many hours during the day practicing emergency runs, as well as helping on true calls and studying for written tests that help them qualify for their desired field.

“These kids spend more hours training than adults do. They have to maintain a constant state of alertness, and they have to stay up on all of their regular school work plus their testing and training,” Hicks said. “They have to be able to pass their exams with an 80 to pass them, and that takes a lot of studying since we use the actual academy books and testing techniques. They don’t get a watered down version.”

From the time they sign up for explorers until the time they graduate, the young adults are on call and ready to help. All are certified in first aid including CPR, law enforcement (including handcuffing and baton) and medial training. One thing that the kids assisted with over the past few years is the Chilton County Search Team and the Disaster Work Team along with simple jobs such as home football games and other activities involving a lot of traffic and people.

To become a member of the explorers students must be between ages 16 and 21 and want to get their feet wet in either law, medical, firefighting or disaster help.

“The kids are very underrated. They do a lot more than they are given credit for. I know that I am proud of every one of my kids that have come and gone through the program,” Hicks said.