FOX 2 - The Michigan State Police Trooper Explorer program is looking for 14 to 21-year-olds to be trained and mentored.
"I'm hoping to build the future of the department," said 1st Lt. Mike Shaw, Michigan State Police. "What we wanted to do was start an Explorer program. It is a good opportunity for us to reach out into the community to bring kids in to see what troopers are really like."
Several lessons are being planned for the program.
"We are going to teach them what we do when we investigate a traffic crash," Shaw said. "We'll go into de-escalation and what that means."
There are also exercises in leadership training and service to the community like cleaning up a park.
The program is also an opportunity to humanize policing after calls to defund police departments surfaced when a number of African-Americans were killed by police.
"We do want kids to meet what a trooper really is," Shaw said. "(A trooper) is somebody who has got a family, playing sports, coaching, trying to make a better life for themselves and their family - and a better life in their community."
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Shaw believes the time is right to get this program up and going.
"We're still going to start and make it happen," Shaw said. "We'll start out on Zoom or virtual."