Lancaster Police Department

405 E. Arch Street, Lancaster, SC

803/283-1173   FAX 803/286-4632

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Lancaster Police Department
Explorer Post 319
Started in 1988

If you are interested in joining, and are of good moral character and between the ages of 14-20, please pick up an application today at the Lancaster Police Department, 405 E Arch St., Lancaster or download an application.



Applicants must have completed the eighth grade and are 14 years of age, or are 15 years of age but have not yet reached their 21st birthday.

Participants must have parental consent to participate and a written waiver of liability must be executed prior to participating in the ride along program.

Each potential participant must undergo a background check to determine that the individual is not morally depraved or has not been convicted of a serious crime. This includes a check of school  disciplinary records.

A scholastic standard requiring a minimum grade of a “C” average for entry and continuance.

If the Explorer receives any traffic or criminal citations, they may be dismissed from the post based upon the seriousness of the offense and at the discretion of the Chief of Police and/or Post Advisors

Each applicant MUST successfully complete class room training and receive a passing grade on three tests.

Each participant must complete youth protection training.

Click here for former Explorer Jason C Hicks Memorial


If you have additional questions, please feel free to email Cpt. P E Smith at


Members of our well-established Explorer Post receive training that is not available outside of a police department.  They are trained in much the same manner as the police officers you see on the street and television.  They see how police officers really function from the best viewpoint possible, right beside them. 

After receiving classroom and practical hands-on training, they are issued uniforms and are allowed the opportunity to ride on patrol with police officers and observe investigations.   They get to see the increasing technology used in law-enforcement today.  This ranges from the video systems in patrol cars to the department’s computerized report writing and booking system. 

Our explorers are eligible, through training and experience, for promotions to higher rank.  They receive instructions and hands-on experience in management and supervision.  This is an opportunity not provided to many people their age.  With the right motivation and attitude they may eventually become Captain of the program, a position held by only a few former members.

As a member, they join a close-knit brotherhood that spans from within the police department to police agencies around the world.  They are part of the bond that keeps all police officers close to one another.  They obtain a better understanding than most people do of events that you read about in the newspaper or see on television.  They are one of the select few who wear a badge and they do it with honor and pride.  They set a higher standard for themselves, as well as those around them. 

During the training, the explorers compete to earn the Chief L.L. Lower Award.  This award is given to the explorer that achieves the highest overall grade score during basic training.  This is a prestigious award that is given to only one Explorer per class.  Each year, one explorer is awarded the PFC John E Stratford, Jr. Memorial Explorer of the Year Award.  College Scholarships are also available through the Boy Scouts of America.

Two explorers are selected each summer to attend the state’s Nathan M. Wolfe Cadet Academy.  This is a full week of training and seminars held at the state’s Criminal Justice Academy, where police officers complete basic training and receive advanced instruction.  During this week, they meet explorers and officers from various agencies.  They see many different career opportunities in many different fields.

Their Rank Structure

Captain 1st Lieutenant

2nd Lieutenant


No Insignia


Lance Corporal

Private 1st Class


The Explorer Post is supervised by a Explorer Captain and the Captain is assisted by a 1st Lieutenant.  The Explorer Captain answers directly to the Advisors.  The rest of the program is divided into two squads.  The two Squads are referred to as Adam Squad and Baker Squad and are supervised by their own 2nd Lieutenant.  The 2nd Lieutenants answer directly to the 1st Lieutenant.  The two 2nd Lieutenants,  the 1st Lieutenant and the Captain make up the Explorer Post Command Staff.

In addition to the 2nd Lieutenant, each Squad consists of a Sergeant, a Corporal, a Lance Corporal, and three Private First Class.  Traditionally, the candidate that scores the highest on their tests is appointed as the Lance Corporal. 

The Explorers wear their rank on their collar only.  The insignia that is worn is silver (with the exception of 2nd Lieutenant and it is gold) and is identical to that displayed above.  Explorers with the rank of corporal and higher have their rank listed on their badge as well. 

"Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility." Louis Armstrong