Commemorative coins are a dime a dozen, but a Hilliard-themed coin can help a young person launch a career in law enforcement.

Commemorative coins are a dime a dozen, but a Hilliard-themed coin can help a young person launch a career in law enforcement.

The coin, featuring the Safety Services Building, is offered by the Hilliard Division of Police's Explorer Post 2286 and sells for $10. Proceeds of its sales will help pay for memberships, uniforms and future activities.

Explorer Posts are a program of Learning for Life, a subsidiary of the Boy Scouts of America. One doesn't have to be a Boy Scout to be an Explorer, though. In fact, males or females who have completed the eighth grade (usually around age 14) through age 20 can go exploring.

Explorer posts are available in a number of fields, from skilled trades to business to law enforcement. The idea is to learn more about the career by attending meetings and shadowing those who work in the profession. For example, the Hilliard Explorers meet for 90 minutes twice a month. After three months, the Explorer gets to ride with a police officer for 8 hours a month.

"We don't let them go in on a lot of the more serious calls, like domestic disputes or fights," said Officer Mike Deaton, who is the post adviser for the Hilliard Police Department (HPD). "But if somebody stole a bike, we let them come with us. That way, they can see the communications, how we relate with the public."

The Explorers, who wear a uniform, might also walk the neighborhood beat with an officer, and participate in simulated traffic stops, searches, self-defense and report writing. During the winter months, members of the FBI, Secret Service and other agencies will speak to the explorers.

"They get a glimpse of what it's like and what's expected of them, and then they can make those decisions before they get too far down the road," Deaton said.

Not everyone can be an Explorer, though. Deaton said they need to be good students, pass a background check and not have OVI offenses if they drive. To stay in the program, they must attend the meetings and police rides.

The unglamorous routine of police work sometimes drives the young people away from the career, but one of Deaton's explorers spent seven years with the post and is now a police officer in Grove City. In addition, one of the HPD's officers came up through the Explorer Post.

There are currently 11 people in the HPD's post, two of them female.

"Some kids come and go," Deaton said. "They decide I really don't want to do this, or they get into college and they can't stay with the program, or might find another interest. The kids that are really interested in this, they want to stay in this. They'll pursue it. It's an asset to them something nice that they can put onto their resume."

To purchase a commemorative coin to benefit Explorer Post 2286, call Deaton at (614) 334-2487, or email him at mdeaton@hilliardohio.gov.