Preparing Leaders for Tomorrow Earns Officers Commendation

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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News item

Preparing Leaders for Tomorrow Earns Officers Commendation

Posted: 05/31/2016
Explorer UnitKnoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Police Chief David Rausch today awarded a Unit Commendation to Sgt. Sammy Shaffer, Sgt. Josh Shaffer, Sgt. Sam Henard, Officer Todd Childress and Investigator Andy Olson for their outstanding dedication and contribution to the Explorer Post of the Knoxville Police Department.  

The Explorer Post is a scouting program designed to introduce young men and women ages 14 to 20 to law enforcement as a potential career.  Explorers are volunteers who meet regularly to learn about law enforcement and the Knoxville Police Department. They also provide working support to the department by assisting with activities such as traffic and crowd control at major events, crime prevention and safety education events, and patrol ride-a-longs.  Additionally, Explorers learn skills that provide them with a solid foundation to become productive members of our community.  The Explorers are assigned to the District Support Unit of the Patrol Division. 

During 2015, the Explorer Post maintained ten active members, and at the end of the year graduated fourteen new members from the basic Explorer academy.  The senior explorers worked 37 events and attended 30 meetings and training sessions for a total of 2173 volunteer hours to the department and community. 

Supervising, leading, and mentoring this group of potential future officers is a team of five Knoxville Police Officers that serve as Explorer Advisors.  The Lead Advisor and supervisor of the District Support Unit, is Sergeant Sammy Shaffer.  Sammy started as an explorer with KPD in May of 1990.  Since then, he has maintained continuous involvement with the explorers, even while employed at the Knoxville Fire Department.   

The remaining four officers, Sergeant Josh Shaffer, Officer Todd Childress, Sergeant Sam Henard, and Investigator Andy Olson, serve as Associate Advisors.  Sergeant Josh Shaffer started with the explorers in 1993 and stayed with them until he joined the KPD Cadet program.  He too has maintained his work and involvement with the program throughout his career.  Officer Todd Childress began working with the explorers in 2003. He volunteered to assist with a state wide explorer competition that year.  He enjoyed the work so much he immediately signed on as an advisor.  Sergeant Henard and Investigator Olson have been Associate Advisors since 2011. 

Advisors for the Explorer Post must first be selected by the police department, then approved by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).  The BSA is the actual governing body behind the Exploring Program, and the KPD is the sponsoring agency.  In addition to their assigned departmental duties, these officers work throughout the year not only at meetings, training, and events, but also mentoring and guiding the explorers.  

Over the years, the Explorer Post Advisors have seen many young men and women progress through the hiring process to become Police Cadets and Police Officers.  They have also seen scores of them decide that law enforcement was not the career path they desired.  These are also success stories as it saves the explorer and the city time and money by not going through a hiring process only to then discover it’s not for them and leave.   Advisors not only maintain and keep the Explorer Post operating, but to help with recruiting future officers and molding meaningful and respective citizens of our community. 

The officers who lead the Knoxville Police Department Explorer Post work constantly to not only recruit and train new members, but to also continue the training, supervising, and mentoring all the members.  Their actions demonstrate a service beyond the normal expectations of their other departmental duties.  These members of our department consistently performed in a manner which exhibits a high level of coordination and teamwork for not only the Explorer Post, but for the Knoxville Police Department.