Mike Pena, a junior at Millard North doesn't have the authority to handcuff a suspect on the street yet, but he hopes that one day he will.
He told Channel 6 News, "I have cousins and uncles that were in criminal justice and so I learned about the Explorer Program through a friend." It's a program that gives teenagers hands on experience with the Omaha Police Department.
Omaha Police Officer Joel Strominger said, "It kind of fine-tunes some skills that will give them an advantage if they are hired by the police department, a leg up on the other applicants because they know a lot of background."
The program is for ages 14 to 20 and the meetings are held on Thursday nights during the school year. Pena said it's been interesting to see his friends' reaction to his involvement with the program.
"They're not too fond of police officers, but once you get to get to interact with police officers you find out the true side of them and they're not that bad and I tell my friends that too and they start to understand."
There are former students of the Explorer Program who are currently on the Omaha police force.
Applicants for the police force must be at least 21 years old and Pena said he plans to continue with the program until he's eligible "and hopefully become an Omaha police officer."
The Explorer Program is offered through the Boy Scouts and it's not limited to law enforcement. To learn more about other career opportunities, click the link included with this story.