Local young adults from five law enforcement agencies will receive their certificates of completion on Saturday from the Central Coast Law Enforcement Explorer Academy. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photo)

After two weeks of physical and mental challenges, 24 local young adults from five different law enforcement agencies will graduate from the Central Coast Law Enforcement Explorer Academy.

The young men and women, ages 14 to 20, will have a final inspection by Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown along with dignitaries from the participating agencies at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 27 before they receive their certificates of completion at the graduation and awards ceremony at 5 p.m. at the Santa Maria Veterans’ Memorial Community Center at 313 W. Tunnel St.

Law Enforcement Exploring is designed for young people interested in a career in law enforcement or a related field in the criminal justice system. Its mission is to offer young adults a personal awareness of the criminal justice system through training, practical experiences, competition and other activities. Additionally, the program promotes personal growth through character development, respect for the rule of law, physical fitness, good citizenship and patriotism.

Explorer Academy Advisor Deputy John Coyle said these recruits have grown tremendously over the past two weeks.

“The Explorer Academy really tests their physical endurance and stamina, as well as their critical thinking and problem-solving skills,” he said. “It teaches them the principles of teamwork, dedication and service to others. The participants in this class have done an outstanding job. We are very proud of the hard work and effort they have put into completing this program.”

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department sponsors the academy and this year had four Explorers participate. The agencies involved in addition to the Sheriff’s Department include the Guadalupe Police Department, the Lompoc Police Department, the Santa Barbara Police Department and the Santa Maria Police Department.

Click here for more information on the Explorers program.

— Kelly Hoover is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.