July 8, 2015

To Protect and Learn

Each year an estimated 25,000-50,000 people attend free or low-cost events in Saginaw Township, such as Party on McCarty, homecoming parades, Saginaw Greek Festival and many others. Local law enforcement officials work tirelessly to ensure the venues are safe and stand ready to assist in case of an emergency. Assisting in those efforts are a group of young people, age 14-20, who are part of the Saginaw Township Police Explorers Post.

The Police Explorers, who currently count 20 individuals among its ranks, was established in 1975 to offer area youth an opportunity to explore a potential career in law enforcement or criminal justice.

“Youth from all over Saginaw County, including neighboring areas of border counties, can join the post,” said Officer Michele Fleming, Saginaw Township Police Officer and an Explorer Post Advisor. “The program offers explorers a chance to experience what a police officer does on a day-to-day basis.”




In the past, explorers were able to use older radios no longer used by police officers for communication while they were working at an event. Due to recent changes in technology and radio protocol, those radios can no longer be used, creating a serious safety concern both for the explorers and event attendees.

“Explorers were forced to rely on their personal cell phones as a tool for communication,” said Officer Fleming. “Often times at an event, the explorers may not know all of the law enforcement officials or have their cell phone numbers. This creates a serious security issue if an emergency were to arise.”

Recent growth in the explorer’s program over the last 18-months has only compounded the issue. With such rapid growth, police department funds were not available to meet the communication needs of the program. That’s when Officer Fleming turned to the community foundation. As a past SCF scholarship recipient, Officer Fleming was familiar with how the foundation could help.

“I was enrolled in a class at Saginaw Valley State University that required the writing of a grant proposal. I knew that this need (the radios) was a natural fit.”

Officer Fleming’s grant proposal was sent to FORCE, our youth advisory committee, for review. For grant reviews, FORCE is a unique committee at SCF as it requires grant applicants to give a 5-minute presentation to the committee. Students are then able to ask questions to the presenters about their proposal.

“The kids were fantastic and asked great questions,” Officer Fleming remarked. “I walked out of the meeting realizing if the kids seated around the table are our future, then the future looks bright. I was impressed.”

FORCE funded the police explorers grant request in full. The $4,103 granted will allow for the purchase of 18 radios that will be put into use beginning summer 2015. Officer Fleming indicated that with the new radios, the explorers will be able to volunteer at more events and provide better service.

“This grant addresses a public safety issue and will help make events in our region safer by providing for an effective means of communication between explorers and law enforcement. We are very thankful to SCF and FORCE.”