Police use program to build relationships, gain interest in law - WNEM TV 5

Police use program to build relationships, gain interest in law enforcement careers

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
SAGINAW TOWNSHIP, MI (WNEM) -

A local program is building a strong connection between police and Mid-Michigan teens while giving them a lesson in fighting crime.

The program is hosted by Saginaw Township police and it’s aimed at getting a new generation interested in a career with the department.

“We encounter different things. Intoxicated people are always the most interesting,” said Jordon Snelenberger.

The 19-year-old college student is interested in law enforcement.

“I’d love to be an officer for Saginaw Township,” Snelenberger said.

He has been involved in the township’s explorer program for three years. It’s a way for young adults ages 14 to 21 to learn about law enforcement and get involved.

“The coolest part of the program is ride-alongs for sure. Riding along with the police and seeing all the situations that happen in the community,” Snelenberger said.

Sgt. Michele Fleming said they cover all sorts of crimes.

“Some weeks we cover domestic violence. Some weeks we cover traffic stops,” Fleming said. “They actually walk out and go on a mock traffic stop.”

Fleming said the program is key to helping law enforcement with a big problem – a national shortage on officers.

“Law enforcement isn’t very popular right now. So, in turn we have a harder time hiring individuals who want to be police officers,” Fleming said. “This is definitely a recruiting tool for law enforcement as a whole, not just Saginaw Township.”

She said they have hired several people who have done the program. Not only is it a powerful recruitment tool, it also helps police connect with youth.

“They have a chance to see the positive side of it,” Fleming said.

Snelenberger said he has seen that positive side. He has a couple years left with the explorers and is hoping it lands him a job.

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