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The Solano County Sheriff’s Office is helping launch careers in either law enforcement or search and rescue thanks to the Explorer Program.

The program is open to anyone between 14 to 20 years old with a 2.0 GPA.

“It’s really fun and I enjoy it,” Tim Gagnebin, 14, said. He’s the youngest cadet, but plans to spend a lot of years in the program.

“It’s always been my dream to go into law enforcement,” he said, “I figured this would be an easier way to do so.”

On the search and rescue side is Alexis Lopez; she’s still deciding her career path but has had fun. A recent training had the cadets take a tour of the Sheriff’s Office’s facilities.

“Got to look at all the cool outdoor vehicles, the ATVs were my favorite part,” Lopez said.

Eventually the cadets will get to do even more, according to Deputy Jason Veach, the primary advisor of the Explorer Program.

“Once they get all that knowledge and training. They do ride-alongs, sit with dispatch, evidence technicians. If they’re over 18 they can go into the jail,” Veach said. “In Search and Rescue, cadets get to go out on missions and trainings.”

The hands-on experience can be a lot of fun, and Sheriff Thomas Ferrara knows how far that can go. He was part of Rio Vista’s cadet program when he was 16 years old. “That first night in a patrol car I was hooked,” he explained.

If there wasn’t a cadet program, Ferrara is pretty confident where he would be.

“I was always into cars so I probably would have been an auto mechanic,” Ferrara said.

A big difference, and Veach hopes Solano County’s program will lead to more careers.

The Explorer Program is currently accepting new cadets. To apply click here.