Police Explorer stint reinforces teen’s dream of a future in law-enforcement

Tempe Police Sgt. Katherine Click has helped Police Explorer Fahed Salameh learn what it takes to be a sworn police officer, a future to which Salameh aspires. — Wrangler News photo by Mark Crudup

Corona del Sol High School junior Fahed Salameh joined the Tempe Police Explorers after a recruitment officer visited the school two years ago. Now, says Salameh, he’s more responsible and more confident, particularly after a series of ride-alongs, one of which ended in a foot pursuit.

Most importantly, the experience has locked in his determination to follow a career in law enforcement.

This summer, Salameh will go to Washington, D.C. for the first time, where he will attend an FBI Leadership Academy. He was one of 150 Explorers, of 33,000 across the country, selected to receive training at the nation’s top law-enforcement institute.

“It’s a fantastic experience,” Salameh said. “Joining Explorers has made me understand what officers have to deal with on the streets, what they have to know, how they need to react to certain things.”

Salameh spent two years working with Sgt. Katherine Click, who oversees the Tempe Police Department’s Explorers program. The group, sponsored by the Learning for Life Division of the Boy Scouts of America, gives local young men and women, ages 14 to 21, firsthand experience in a variety of law-enforcement skills.

“It’s amazing to watch the Explorers come in, and when they leave they’re adults,” Click said. “Fahed is so much more responsible now.”

Click said Salameh was the only one of the Tempe Explorers to score 100 percent on the test on standard police radio codes. He will also attend a local policing academy before his trip to D.C.

“None of my family members have been in law enforcement before,” Salameh said. “I’m really happy I joined the program; I’ve learned to be more aware – every situation can turn out differently than you expect.”

As a member of the group, Salameh said he competed in various local Explorer competitions.

“Each (participant) grows as a person and gets trained in what officers actually do,” Click said.

The group of Tempe Explorers placed second overall in the fourth annual Scottsdale Explorer Competition on March 26.

“We also went to a Mesa challenge event about a month ago,” Salameh said. “It incorporated physical ability and teamwork; they put us in groups with Explorers from other cities, and all of us went through obstacle courses together.”

This summer’s weeklong FBI academy will focus on leadership skills, physical training and law enforcement practices.

“Sgt. Click is a cool person with a good personality,” Salameh said. “She teaches and reviews what we need to do in every kind of situation; she and all of my advisers have taught me a lot, and still do.”

Salameh’s long-term plans? After graduating high school, he says he hopes to take the next logical step: trading in his Explorer uniform for Tempe PD’s official blue.

For more information on the Tempe Police Explorers, visit http://www.tempe.gov/police/explorers/ .

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