705 – Youth Programs

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Purpose / Mission Statement

The mission of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Youth Programs enables young adults to become responsible people by teaching positive character traits, career development, leadership, and life skills so they can make ethical choices and achieve their full potential.

The Law Enforcement Explorer program is designed to acquaint young people with the nature and complexity of law enforcement.  It encourages them to seek a career as an HCSO deputy, enhancing the explorer’s preparation for his or her future roles as a citizen, community member and a leader, serving as a recruitment tool for future men and women in law enforcement.

The HCSO Jr. Mounted Posse promotes and encourages the training of young people in the art of horsemanship, promoting community service, teaching positive character traits, leadership, and life skills.


Law Enforcement Explorer Program

The HCSO Law Enforcement Explorers program is a career and value-oriented initiative that will give young adults the opportunity to explore a career in law enforcement by working with HCSO deputies.

The HCSO explorers will have the opportunity to train and perform certain law enforcement functions and utilize that training in mock police calls. They will also be able to showcase that training in explorers competitions held throughout the United States and qualify to win awards and even college scholarships.

There will be five explorer posts within the HCSO, one assigned to each patrol district. The program will be led by a designated program coordinator appointed by the Sheriff. Each post will consist of one primary advisor and one committee chair. They will be sworn deputies responsible for the operation of their post.

Law enforcement exploring provides educational training programs for young adults on the purposes, mission, and objectives of law enforcement. The program provides career orientation experiences, leadership opportunities, and community service activities. The primary goals of the program are to help young adults choose a career path within law enforcement and to challenge them to become responsible citizens of their communities and the nation.

Agencies from federal, state, and local levels coordinate the law enforcement exploring programs throughout the United States. The majority of the community programs are managed by local police departments, including sheriffs, chiefs of police, and state police. In addition, many federal agencies offer their support. Agencies providing national programs, scholarships, workshops, and literature include:

  • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
  • Firearms, and Explosives (ATF);
  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA);
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI);
  • Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC);
  • Federal Air Marshal Service;
  • US Army Military Police;
  • US Customs and Border Protection Service;
  • US Marshals Service; US Postal Inspection Service; and the
  • US Secret Service

Law enforcement exploring is supported by the National Sheriffs’ Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Over 33,000 explorers and 8,425 adult volunteers participate in law enforcement exploring. The program highlights include: the national law enforcement exploring leadership academies, career achievement awards, national law enforcement exploring conferences, and scholarship opportunities.

The most popular law enforcement exploring careers include:

  • Police officers
  • Sheriffs
  • Federal agents
  • State police / highway patrol
  • Probation officers
  • Military police
  • Correction officers

Law enforcement exploring combines some classroom training with pistol shooting, community policing, and much more.

Explorers will develop:

  • Leadership skills
  • Respect for police officers and explorers
  • New personal skills
  • Marksmanship
  • Law enforcement protocols

Explorers will learn:

  • Crash scene procedures
  • Bomb threat response
  • Proper equipment usage

Explorers will have an opportunity to participate in:

  • National events and competitions
  • Community service

Explorers will have an opportunity to network with:

  • Explorers across the USA
  • Law enforcement officers
  • Federal agencies

Explorers will learn about the educational requirements for a career in law enforcement and will receive tangible advice on steps they could take now to prepare and position themselves for a successful career in the field of law enforcement.

Law enforcement career exploring will provide them with the following benefits:

  • Improved self-confidence
  • Leadership experience and social network development
  • Fun and exciting hands-on career experiences
  • Community service opportunities
  • College and career readiness preparation
  • Team building

Eligibility and Membership

The explorer program is selective and only allows participation of young people who have expressed a sincere interest in law enforcement and have no serious police record.

Basic Requirements: Explorer applicants may be males or females who are at least 14 (having completed the 8th grade) and less than 21 years of age. Advisors will be familiar with HCSO hiring policies and requirements.

No person will be allowed into the HCSO Law Enforcement Explorer program who would not be able to qualify for employment with this agency (in regards to criminal activity) at age 21.

If enrolled in a secondary school in Harris County, explorer program applicants and explorers must have and must maintain at least a ‘C’ grade average and no failing end-of-semester grades. Progress reports will be required for review by the post advisor at the end of each grading period while school is in session.

The explorer program is voluntary upon the part of its youth participants. If under the age of 18, the applicants must have written permission from their parents or legal guardians to join or participate.

Applicants must be in good health and good physical condition consistent with agency requirements.

Harris County Sheriff’s Office Junior Mounted Posse

The Jr. Mounted Posse is a private drill team that is sponsored by the HCSO and falls within the Community Engagement Division for all administrative functions.

The Jr. Mounted Posse adheres to the constitution and bylaws of the HCSO Jr. Mounted Posse.

NOTE: The by-laws and constitution can be changed by the leadership of the organization, with approval from the HCSO coordinator.

  • The HCSO Jr. Mounted Posse coordinatoris appointed by the Sheriff or his or her designee.
  • The coordinator’s duties include, but are not limited to the following: 
  • The coordinator shall work with the newly and/or current elected Jr. Mounted Posse officers to insure integrity of all By-Laws.
  • The coordinator will keep the most current version of the By-Laws to ensure its authenticity. 
  • The coordinator shall oversee the yearly event of the “Pony Express Rides.” 
  • The coordinator shall schedule the meeting between the County Judge and Sheriff for the presentation of proclamations and provide transportation to and from the event.
  • The coordinator shall contact all dignitaries and coordinate the town’s routes and meeting locations for all relay rides. 
  • The coordinator shall be responsible for insuring adequate police escorts for the safety of the Junior Posse. 
  • The coordinator shall coordinate all activities of the Jr Posse involvement with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Parade. 
  • The coordinator shall monitor, count and read the election results to the membership of all elections. 
  • The Coordinator shall oversee all property that is owned by HCSO and all equipment requests shall go through the Coordinator.
  • The coordinator will ensure the Jr Posse reflects a positive image and in all their activities that represent the HCSO.
  • The Coordinator is at the discretion of the HCSO and all duties are subject to change at the discretion of the Sheriff of Harris County.


This policy has been revised on the below listed dates:

September 19, 2011

January 11, 2016

March 27, 2019

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