Press-Republican

Local News

April 24, 2014

Hands-on experience

PLATTSBURGH — A local program gives students an opportunity to get a taste of what it’s like to work in law enforcement.

Justin Burl, an agent with the Office of Field Operations for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, is chief adviser of Law Enforcement Explorers Post 2100. And he is looking for new members for that group.

Burl heads the organization with Chief Adviser Brad Chambers, an agent with the Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine.

“They’re exposed to all aspects of law enforcement from the federal, state and local activities,” Burl said of the members. “Any possible training we can get our hands on, we’ll do it.”

The program is one of the only units in the nation that’s chartered through all three posts of Customs and Border Protection, he said.

Explorers topics include police patrol, forensics, arrest procedure, bomb response, firearms training, CPR and emergency medical training.

Explorers also participate in a one-week modified police academy at a camp in Vermont each summer.

VARIED INTERESTS

The program, started about six years ago, has about 20 members, including one from SUNY Plattsburgh.

Students are eligible to join after they graduate eighth grade and can remain in the program until age 21.

Members’ future aspirations vary, among them careers in the Armed Forces, forensics, detective work, patrol, border protection and the medical field, Burl said.

Some enroll to simply learn more about the inner workings of the law-enforcement field.

“Anyone that’s interested in languages, this is a great program because of where we can send you (career-wise).”

There’s also a community-service component to the program.

The group assists the American Red Cross in its annual Run for Red and also helped emergency authorities when Tropical Storm Sandy passed through the North Country.

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