Each year, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) host the annual Winterfest Competition in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Explorer Posts from all across the United States attend the competition to compete in various law enforcement scenarios, including active shooter, officer survival, traffic stop, death investigations, fitness course, and much more. In 2018, Explorer Post 916 received first place in the Active Shooter training scenario. Winterfest occurs each February.


Explorer Post 916 is a member of the Florida Association of Police Explorers (FAPE). Each summer, they host the annual state competition. Similar to Winterfest, Explorer Posts from across the State of Florida compete in seven (7) law enforcement categories: traffic stop, crime scene, search and arrest, in progress, crisis intervention, active shooter, and tie breaker. Other categories include pistol shooting, physical fitness, and drill team. The categories are judged my deputies and police officers from across the State and evaluate the Explorers on a magnitude of aspects, including officer safety, command presence, communication, statute knowledge, team work, and basic law enforcement procedures. Only four members may represent their Explorer Post during the events. Our “State Team” consist of four Explorers with two alternates; these Explorers receive additional training to help prepare them for competition scoring and procedures.


Details are community events typically held within the county which allow Explorers to provide direct community service, typically by providing traffic control and direction. Such events include fairs, races, church events, shotgun shootouts, festivals, and other service projects. The Explorers work closely with a number of non-profit groups who are trying to make a difference in the community. Details allow the Explorers to interact with the community while building their communication skills. Explorer leadership ranks will often coordinate job assignments and traffic planning.


Each year during Spring Break, the Explorer Program hosts the Leadership and Drill Academy (LDA), a week-long, out-of-county event designed to expose Explorers to a variety of concepts to prepare them for a career in law enforcement. The LDA curriculum was designed to expose Explorers to leadership concepts, drill/marching movements, and law enforcement field operation procedures. Throughout the week, the Explorers are challenged both physically and mentally to complete outdoor obstacles and team based objectives. The LDA embraces several values which are embedded into the sheriff’s office, including teamwork, discipline, professionalism, and espirt de corps. The LDA embodies a similar environment to a law enforcement academy – a paramilitary atmosphere – where Explorers must be able to present themselves professionally while following a regimented and strict expectation.

Staying at a campground facility, Explorers also receive instruction on camping and survival tactics, and participate in outdoor recreational activities to relax, decompress, and hopefully enjoy themselves. This year’s event will be hosted at Camp Owen J. Brorein in Hillsborough County, FL.


Each year, the Explorer Program will host an appreciation banquet to reflect on the previous year’s accomplishments. This is an opportunity for the Explorers to relax, eat dinner with friends and family, and be recognized for their achievements and hard work. Members from the sheriff’s office and community who have supported the program are also invited to express their thanks and gratitude to the Explorers. Advisors take this opportunity to hand out certificates and award plaques to distinguished Explorers for their hard work, determination, and volunteerism. Certificates include years of service, rank promotions, and volunteer hour brackets. Awards include Explorer of the Year, Supervisor of the Year, Dedication Award, Meritorious Service Award, and Advisor of the Year.