STANDISH – In late July, eight students from Standish, Windham, Raymond, Casco, Limington and Portland, ranging in age from 14-19, participated in the 2013 Cumberland County Sheriff Explorer Academy Post 3 Program held at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish.

“I think the Cumberland County Explorer Academy is a great way to teach and explore the basics of law enforcement,” said class leader Robert Mooney, a Limington native and recent graduate of Bonny Eagle High School.

The Post 3 program is a mock police academy run in conjunction with the Law Enforcement Explorers program through the Boy Scouts of America. Its goal is to teach young men and women the ins and outs of law enforcement while simulating the rigors of a real police academy.

“Our objective during the academy phase of the Explorer Post is to instill the core values of the post into the cadets,” said Cumberland County Sheriff’s Community Policing Deputy Paul Pettengill. “During formation we have the cadets repeat the words ‘pride, honor, integrity and leadership’ so they understand the importance of these values. Our hope is that they bring these values into their personal lives and live it on a daily basis.”

Mooney is certain those words will have a major role in his life.

“The academy has taught me pride, honor, integrity and leadership,” said Mooney, whose future plans include joining the military and eventually becoming a Maine game warden.

During the academy, which ran July 22-26, cadets lived in dorms at the college, participated in daily physical training, were fingerprinted and attended classes taught by retired police sergeants, corrections officers, and Cumberland County sheriff’s deputies. Classes included domestic violence awareness, the criminal justice system, crime scene investigations and procedures and boat patrol, which enabled the cadets to tour Sebago Lake and look for unsafe activity.

The program was free again this year for students thanks to the space donated from the college, and was run at no cost to the sheriff’s office.

“We are so grateful that the college continually supports this program and allows us to use the facilities at no charge,” said Pettengill. “To be able to offer this at no cost to the cadets or the sheriff’s office is truly incredible.”

“We have a very strong relationship with the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office,” said Maureen LaSalle, director of events at Saint Joseph’s College. “They are very supportive to us, so being able to host the program for them is a great way for us to reciprocate that support. It is also great to see these cadets, our future leaders, enjoying our campus and what we have to offer here.”

Friday afternoon, eight cadets, dressed in full sheriff’s deputy uniforms graduated under the summer sun.

“This has been a spectacular group,” said Pettengill. “I am proud of each and every one of these cadets.”

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