The next generation of law enforcement officers was put to the test from July 24-29 as part of the summer South Carolina Association of Law Enforcement Explorers (SCALE) conference. 

Lexington County hosted 10 police departments and sheriff’s offices from across the state, ready to put their teams of young explorers through their paces. 

A national initiative that’s part of the Boy Scouts of America program, the Law Enforcement Program is designed to give young people between the ages of 14 and 20 an understanding and insight into the world of law enforcement. 

As well as weekly meetings, the summer and winter conferences give teens the chance to test their skills in a nationwide competition. 

Following last year’s summer conference at Benedict College, Explorers found themselves faced with a wide variety of challenges, from written tests to executing a high-risk traffic stop. 

They went head-to-head on key skills developed through the program, including physical agility, building clearing, and crime scene investigation. 

With ten competing teams and three training teams taking part, Summerville Police Department was announced as the first place winner at the closing ceremony followed by Mount Pleasant Police Department taking second place, and Goose Creek Police Department taking third.

“Summer SCALE has been very exciting and had fun events. I enjoyed all of the scenarios including the judges at the events as they provided us with great constructive criticism, which will hopefully build me to becoming a great police officer. Everyone was very nice and I enjoyed my time here in Lexington as they have treated us like family.” Mackenzie Godfrey, Goose Creek PD Explorer

“Every single person taking part in this year’s conference should be proud of themselves, their commitment and their accomplishments,” Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said. 

“Hosting this conference and helping young people explore what it means to serve their community is an honor. It’s vital to developing the next generation of law enforcement talent that we look forward to welcoming to the team here in Lexington County,” he continued. 

From ride-along opportunities, to meeting judges and prosecutors, the Law Enforcement Explorers program isn’t just about understanding what makes the criminal justice system tick, it’s about fellowship, character development and personal growth. 

The competition might be over for this summer, but those looking to get involved can find out more about joining the Explorers program and getting game ready in time for the winter SCALE conference. 

A big thank you to the departments, schools, local government and church groups that allowed us to use their facilities, and congratulations to everyone in the Summerville Police Department.