COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - Some Columbia County high school students are getting the chance to see what it's like on the other side of the law. The Law Enforcement Explorers program allows teens interested in career in law enforcement to start their training early.
The teens meet twice a month, and are getting the real deal when it comes to what they might see on the job.
It looks like training you would see deputies going through for a spot at the Sheriff's Office, with people clearing rooms and drawing their guns for protection. But some of the people holding the fake weapons are as young as 14.
James Marchant,17, has been in the Explorer program for three years, and said he wanted to pursue a career in the military, but then switched to a job that would protect the community he grew up in.
"I just wanted to see if I could help, protect and serve people, and try to help out the community as best I could," he said.
Marchant said the training opens your eyes to the world of those who protect and serve.
"You get to see on this side of law enforcement, and you get to see a different side of how everything works," Marchant said. "You see what to do and it's just amazing."
The Explorers do everything from firearms training, to building clearing, and even going on ride-alongs with deputies of the sheriff's office.
For former Explorer, and now deputy, Benjamin Corbin, this hands on experience is what often determines whether or not someone this young pursues a career in law enforcement.
"It's extremely good training to let them know the dangers of law enforcement, how law enforcement operates, and in the ride-alongs they get to see what the job is like," said Deputy Corbin. "You appreciate law enforcement more, you're more thankful for what they do because you've come to the understanding it is a dangerous job."
"To me this group is more of a family. And we're all bound together, and we try to watch out for each other and try to help each other learn through the program," said Merchant.
For more information on the Explorers program click here.