Source: Robert Minter for Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office
College scholarships for members of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Explorer Program are now available, thanks to a $100,000 endowment fund established by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse.
Scholarship applications will be made available to all current Explorer Program participants. The endowment, created to fund scholarships in perpetuity, was conceived and sponsored by Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse Board member Richard Berti and his family through the fund’s initial principal of more than $100,000.
In this, its first year, the endowment will fund two college scholarships of $2,500 each.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Explorer members are young adults who have completed eighth grade though the age of 20, who are interested in hands-on, pre-professional training and real-life experience in law enforcement services and other related professions.
The program promotes personal growth through character development, community service, physical fitness, leadership, communication, and public speaking skills, command presence, and career planning.
“It’s critical to our community that we give our youth both the means to get an education but also hands-on experience to facilitate a career path such as in law enforcement. The Explorer Program gives students hands-on experience which can inspire and lead them to a career in criminal justice,” said Berti.
The Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse’s endowment funds will be invested with and managed by the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, which will also annually review scholarship applications and select scholarship recipients,
“We hope that others will be inspired by the Berti family’s generosity and make additional contributions to the Posse’s fund so that it can grow to fund many more annual scholarships in future years,” said Posse Board Chairman Richard S. Kline.
Sheriff’s Explorers are required to attend regular meetings and participate in a two-week Basic Explorer Academy held during the summer within the first year of the program. The Explorers participate in community events throughout Santa Barbara County.
Explorers provide support to the Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies throughout the county with several community-based operations such as Old Spanish Days and the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo, as well as traffic and crowd control at various parades over the course of the year.
Explorer program members participate in instructional training in topics of practical application including law enforcement code of ethics, the criminal justice system, basic patrol procedures, traffic law, criminal law, daily physical fitness, crime scene investigation/finger printing, investigation of criminal activity, radio procedures, first aid, report writing, firearms safety and military drill and ceremonies, said program coordinator, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Sr. Deputy Dave Robertson.
Sheriff’s Explorers also participate in competitions at various locations throughout the state. The competitions place Explorers in the role of law enforcement officers in a controlled environment and permit the Explorers to put their training and knowledge to the test in a variety of scenario-based evaluations.
“The Explorer Program is a wonderful opportunity for young people to learn about a possible career in law enforcement and is an excellent way for them to provide an important service to the community," said Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown. "The program is coordinated by seasoned deputies who have a great deal of teaching, training and coaching experience.”
The Santa Barbara County Sherriff’s Office currently maintains two Explorer posts, one in North County and one in South County. Those interested in joining the program email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We hope that the announcement of our Explorer scholarship raises the awareness of the program and its importance," Robertson. said. "We also hope that residents and foundations in our community will consider contributing to the Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse to help fund Explorers need for training weapons, uniforms and other items not covered by the county budget.”
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Benevolent Posse is a 501(c)(3) organization formed by local citizens to seek ways to help the Sheriff's Office maintain its current efficiency, improve performance, morale and effectiveness, as well as to seek innovative solutions to complex problems faced by local law enforcement.
The Sheriff’s Posse Board is comprised of local non-law enforcement volunteers who donate their time, and efforts to the assist the Sheriff’s Office fill its needs not funded by the constrained County budget.
The posse also works to enhance relations between the community and county law enforcement, promote public safety through special events and activities, and serve as a citizen-initiated conduit for informing the community about public safety issues.