POUGHKEEPSIE – The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office PBA Explorers Program received a $20,000 grant on Monday night. The Explorers of Post 108 learned of the funding from county officials at their first meeting of 2022.
The program was started in September of 2020 by the deputies, with the support of the late Sheriff Butch Anderson. The original story that describes the program can be found HERE.
Through the Learn, Play, Create grant program launched by Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and supported by the county legislature, 22 of the cadets between the ages of 14 and 20 heard from Acting Sheriff Kirk Imperati, Molinaro, and Legislature Chairman Gregg Pulver about the new equipment they will get through the grant.
Imperati said law enforcement is a rewarding job.
“You have to love doing your job and you have to want to help people. We get into law enforcement because we want to help people, we want to protect them and we want to serve our community. So, if they want to do that, this is a perfect place for them,” he said.
Imperati credited Deputy Joe Wasilewski for submitting a successful competitive grant. The 30-year veteran of law enforcement said that the funding will help expand the program that gives approved cadets a chance “to see what it takes to become a police officer.”
Molinaro addressed the class and gave a somber reminder that a member of the NYPD is being buried this week after being killed in the line of duty. He also livened the mood by telling the cadets “You are our ambassadors and represent Dutchess County,” while giving them a brief pep talk.
Pulver said, “The PBA Youth Explorer Program prepares our children not only for careers in law enforcement but for career skills. The Learn, Play, Create program is about enhancing the equipment for those skills. Sheriff Imperati and his team are running a great program and I know our community is better because of it.”
Deputy Wasilewski, one of the directors of the program, was appreciative of the funding and is looking forward to selecting the appropriate equipment such as training handcuffs duty belts, uniforms, and traffic vests for the cadets. “It’s our hope that one day with all the proper equipment we can participate in national explore post competitions and we are trying to accomplish that goal next year.”
The cadets were also reminded that Sheriff Imperati spearheaded the county’s Police Reform and Modernization Plan that has received recognition by several other agencies. The plan can be found HERE.
More information on the Learn, Play, Create grant program can be found HERE.