Students learn about future police officer training program


Mrs. Rachel Thomas’s, Science, first hour forensic class listen intently as Officer Otano explains the Explorer Program. Once his speech concluded, the students were encouraged to grab a brochure containing more information.

Raeanne O'Day and lakecentralnews

Officer Raul Otano came into Mrs. Rachel Thomas’s, Science, first hour Forensic Science class to talk about the Explorer Program, which allows teenagers to experience real-life situations that police officers go through daily.

“Some people go in thinking it’s what you see on television, but only about 10 percent of that is true,” Officer Otano said.

The program consists of participating in crime scene preservation, firearm training simulations, accident investigations and handcuffing techniques, among other things. Anyone between the ages of 16 and 21 who maintains a C grade average can join this organization.

“We try to cover everything and anything. This program will open your eyes to what’s out there,” Otano said.

The meetings for this program are the first three Mondays of every month from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Schererville Police Station. After logging 36 hours explorers are given a uniform similar to a police officer’s, only with gray coloring and with the word “Explorer” on their patches as opposed to “Officer”.

They are then given the opportunity to do ride-alongs with police officers, up to 16 hours a month.

“Ride-alongs are a big part of the program — shadowing officers, following officers and assisting officers,” Otano said.

Students interested in joining this program can fill out an application on the Explorer program’s website at Any questions about the program should be directed to Officer Otano either at 219-322-5000 or [email protected]