MissionA Look at Metro Explorers
Is this career for me?
If you're unsure about a career in law enforcement, this is certainly the program for you! You'll see nearly every part of the police department and how it operates on a day-to-day basis. After spending some time in the program, you can decide if you want to pursue the career. If not, you still will have learned very valuable life skills!
How do I join?
Prospective members first apply online. After successfully submitting an application, prospective members must attend an orientation meeting.
How old do I have to be?
You must be at least 16 but not older than 20 years, 6 months by the first week of April or October, depending on your application date.
What is the background check process like?
This investigation is conducted by a member of the LVMPD Explorer Background Investigation Team. Candidates and their parents/legal guardians will be responsible for signing disclosure statements and having various waivers and documents notarized.
Criminal history along with current and/or past drug & alcohol use will be reviewed. The investigator may also look into the applicant's school and work history and may choose to contact current or former teachers, employers & personal references.
Applicants must be truthful on all questions and paperwork. Dishonesty is grounds for immediate and permanent disqualification from the LVMPD Law Enforcement Explorer Program and future LVMPD employment.
The process may take up to 6 months depending on various circumstances. Prospective members must pass a full background investigation before being considered official members of the program.
How long is the application process?
Once you apply, you will recieve a confirmation email and an invitation to an orientation meeting. The process generally takes 3 to 4 weeks.
Are you accepting new members?
We accept new members twice yearly: in April and October. Our online application is generally open in February and August.
Does it cost anything to be an Explorer?
New members must pay a one-time, non-refundable fee of $46 payable by cash, cashier’s check or money order to The LVMPD Law Enforcement Explorer Program Inc. Personal checks are not accepted.
You will be required to purchase basic equipment such as a binder, writing supplies, duffle bag, duty belt, boots and tactical uniform. Class A uniforms are provided by LVMPD, are property of the police department and must be returned upon separation from the program.
You may also be required to pay to attend competitions however all efforts are made to pay for post travel through fundraising.
When and where are meetings held?
For the first three months of membership, all new explorers meet on Wednesdays from 5:30pm to 8:00pm at LVMPD Headquarters. After 3 months and successfully passing the background investigation, explorers meet at the following locations:
Every other Tuesday from 5:30pm to 8:00pm at the LVMPD Crime Lab
Every other Wednesday from 5:30pm to 8:00pm at the Clark County Detention Center
Every Wednesday from 5:30pm to 8:00pm at the dispatch center
Every Wednesday from 5:30pm to 8:00pm at LVMPD Headquarters
What do I need to bring for meetings?
Provisional members wear professional, business casual attire until issued a Provisional Explorer uniform.
Explorers wear their LVMPD-issued uniform and are required to bring their complete duty belt, notebook, and pens. Depending on the meeting, additional equipment may be necessary.
Can I switch programs?
Yes. If, after you join our program and succesfully pass our membership requirements, you wish to change to a different focus area within the program, you may do so without re-applying.
Am I hired by LVMPD after graduating from Explorers?
No. While the LVMPD Explorer Program will prepare you for a career in law enforcement, being an Explorer does not automatically grant you a position. You must follow the same application process as other applicants.
Can I have tattoos, piercings or gauged ears?
Explorers are representatives of the LVMPD and must adhere to our department’s personal appearance policy. Explorers may not show any tattoos, have any facial piercings or may not have gauged ears. Click here for more information.
Advisors are the adults responsible for providing leadership, guidance, and training for each of the explorers in the program. These officers and employees train and educate Explorers in a number of law enforcement subjects as well as in various department operations.
Each program is headed by a lead advisor and is assisted by associate advisors. They are commissioned officers and civilian department employees who volunteer their time to mentor and teach our young adult members.
Our advisors care about the success of our explorers and strive to be positive role models, mentors, counselors, and teachers. They are dedicated to the program and prepare each explorer to become a leader in society.
Advisors expose explorers to the many facets of the law enforcement profession so they can make an educated decision and decide if they are up to the challenges of the career.
Alexia Mendoza is a Las Vegas native and 2017 graduate of Foothill High School. She has been a member of the LVMPD Law Enforcement Explorer Program as a Patrol Explorer since April 2016 and during her tenure has held ranks of sergeant, lieutenant and captain. She participated in the Field Training Explorer (FTE) program and has been a member of the program’s Recruiting Team. Commander Mendoza completed the 2018 Southern Nevada Law Enforcement Explorer Academy and during her time as an explorer has attended four competitions. Mendoza has volunteered hundreds of hours to the program and to her community.
Commander Mendoza currently works as a support staff at Somerset Academy, a local charter school. She is currently working toward an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice at the College of Southern Nevada and plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Mendoza’s goal is to become a police officer with the LVMPD; her ultimate goal is to be a SWAT operator.
In looking back at her years in the program, Mendoza said, “I’ve created many memories with the program but nothing will ever top 2018’s San Diego's “Best in the West” Explorer competition, we not only took 2nd place overall but we really came together not only as a team but as friends…”
Anthony Gariano 2014
Kori Lindsey 2015
Ben Wood 2015
Thomas Harmon 2016
Cameron Jenkins 2017
Dylan Cripps 2018
Board of directors
The LVMPD Explorer Program is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and is governed by a board of directors. These men and women guide the program and oversee all financial, fundraising and general program operations.
NV State Assemblyman
The LVMPD Law Enforcement Explorer Program helped me build a strong foundation for my life and career at a very young age. Some of the most valuable lessons and skills I learned during adolescence came from the seven years I was involved with this program, five of which I held the position of Post Captain for LVMPD's Downtown Area Command. Values like integrity, courage and respect were also ingrained into me and have carried over into all aspects of my adult life.
The mentors I grew up knowing during those years helped develop my leadership and interpersonal skills which have a huge impact in my career today. As an explorer I was taught to think outside the box and how to quickly organize my thought processes during situations of high stress. In adulthood these have proven to be be invaluable traits as over the years I discovered working under pressure always brings out my best performance.
I often get complimented for being calm and organized when under pressure, a skill I owe to the training and lessons learned with the LVMPD. The best decision I made during my teen years was to be an explorer.
My son Caeden joined the LVMPD Law Enforcement Explorer when he just finished high school. His goal in life was to become a police officer. But this program teaches teens so much more than just becoming an officer.
It teaches responsibility, mental strength and how to become an outstanding citizen. From weekly meetings, volunteering at functions, and to participating in ride alongs with police officers.
I was also impressed that an emphasis was placed on staying fit by doing physical training. I highly recommend this program for anyone who wants to achieve their goals in life. Being an explorer has given my son a big head start when he joins the academy next year and looks forward to being a mentor to other explorers once he graduates.
I joined the LVMPD Explorer Program as a CSI Explorer when I was 17 years old. I learned the basic duties of a Crime Scene Analyst all while learning about skills such as leadership, teamwork, accountability, time management and respect.
During my time as a CSI Explorer, I became Sergeant, Lieutenant, and finally Captain of the CSI Explorer post before I aged out at 21. Shortly after graduating from UNLV with a degree in Criminal Justice, I tested with the department and I was hired on as a Crime Scene Analyst. I have been employed for several years and I take pride in knowing that the work that I do makes a positive difference in people’s lives and in the community I grew up in.
The Explorer program really gave me a head start on my career - the materials and hands-on experience that I got from the program definitely gave me a solid foundation and was instrumental in bringing me to the position that I am in today.
Now, I am one of four CSI Explorer Advisors. I became an advisor because I want to be a role model to the young men and women that join, much like my advisors were to me. It is crazy to think that just a few years ago I was sitting in the same seats that they sit in now and wearing the same uniforms that our explorers wear now. I hope to show them that with hard work and dedication, the LVMPD Explorer Program really does work and can help them head start their careers in law enforcement.
Our story begins in 1978 when Officer Paul Conner organized and chartered Police Explorer Post 444, LVMPD’s first law enforcement explorer post.
The post number 444 was a nod to LVMPD's 444 radio code—Officer Needs Assistance.
Our post and program was modeled after the LAPD’s Law Enforcement Explorer Program of which Officer Conner was a member in 1966.
The first meeting was held with seven teens at LVMPD's West Substation.
Southwest Gas Corporation donated a Ford Service Van to the post which was refurbished and painted by the department with a police paint scheme. Several years later, the program acquired a Chevrolet Suburban.
Between 1978 and 1993 the program used vehicles for various post activities, events and traffic control assignments.
In 1979 post meetings were moved to 861 North Mojave Road, LVMPD’s new police academy facility at the East Substation.
The program was assigned to Sergeant Ken Caldwell of the In-Service Training Section within the Training Bureau. Officer Richard Bilyeu assumed the role of head advisor.
The post was not large enough to hold a weekend competition on our own so we invited explorers from North Las Vegas Police and the Nevada Highway Patrol to participate. This was the beginning of our annual explorer competition.
Early competitions were held at Nellis Air Force Base where explorers ate, slept and participated in scenarios. At the conclusion of each weekend we handed out trophies and recognized everyone's efforts.
In 1982, Officer Rick Bilyeu organized our first full Explorer Academy.
The 10-week academy met during the weekends. The graduation ceremony was held at the old Shriner’s Hall on West Mesquite Avenue on September 18th, 1982.
Post members began attending the bi-annual National Law Enforcement Exploring Conference
• 1986 University of Washington
• 1990 – University of Colorado at Bolder
• 1992 – Columbia, South Carolina
LVMPD Explorers also began attending competitions hosted by police departments within the state and across the country.
The original explorer patch and uniform was changed at the direction of Undersheriff Eric Cooper, Deputy Chief Paul Conner and Officer Russ Shoemaker.
The new patch design was initiated to associate the program more closely to the department’s shoulder patch. Previously, explorers’ uniforms were the same as CCDC corrections officers’. After the change, explorers were issued tan shirts and green pants.
We begin participating in the annual Specialized Law Enforcement Explorer Training (SLEET) event at Nellis Air Force Base. These competitions were held at various military bases throughout the state until 2000.
A new post, Post #505 was started at Northwest Area Command. By 1998 all LVMPD substations had explorer programs.
LVMPD creates the nation’s first explorer program dedicated exclusively to Crime Scene Investigation.
Captain David O’Leary presented the concept to members of the CSI section. Crime Scene Analysts Stephanie Fletcher, Kristin Grammas and Jeff Smink became the program’s first advisors.
Post #990 began with about 10 explorers and met bi-weekly at the department’s crime lab.
Corrections Officers Cheryl Whetzel, Lee Doss, William Ferguson and Corrections Sergeant Nita Schmidt create our detention-based explorer program. Explorers were assigned to various posts throughout the Clark County Detention Center, the county jail operated by the LVMPD.
The CCDC post was designed to expose young adults to a different, non traditional side of law enforcement in addition to providing teens a rare look into a jail.
LVMPD begins the nation's first 911 communications explorer program in an effort to recruit youth into a career in emergency dispatching.
The program undergoes the first major change since its creation: Centralization
Individual police substation posts were combined to form one large post which met at the newly-built headquarters campus. Members were divided into four "phases" based on tenure in the program.
CSI, Corrections and Dispatch explorers spent their first few months in the program with Police explorers in Phase I to learn the foundations of law enforcement.
725, the new explorer post number, was chosen as a reference to the recently created Las Vegas telephone area code.