What is the Explorer Program?

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Explorer Post is a group of young men and women interested in exploring a career in law enforcement. Explorers get a combination of classroom trainings and hands on experience that teaches them about the rigorous and challenging field of law enforcement.  The contract cities of Sonoma and Windsor also maintain Law Enforcement Explorer Posts.

Explorers is a program jointly sponsored by the Sheriff’s Office and the Boy Scouts of America Learning for Life Program. It is open to young men and women between the ages of 14 and 21, who have completed the 8th grade. Meetings are held at the Sheriff’s Office (located at 2796 Ventura Avenue in Santa Rosa) and at off site locations.  The Sonoma and Windsor Police Department Explorer Posts hold their meetings at their respective Police Departments.

Opportunities Offered

Explorers receive instruction in the following areas:

  • Laws of Arrest

  • Arrest Techniques

  • Defensive Tactics

  • Firearms

  • Crime Scene Management

  • Fingerprinting

  • Traffic Control

  • Using Two-Way Radios

  • Report Writing

Explorers are required to attend all regularly scheduled meetings. This may include assisting in Sheriff’s Office sponsored activities, community events, and parades. Additionally, Explorers participate in the Sheriff’s Office ride-along program.

Explorers take part in local and regional trainings and competitions with other explorer posts. Each Explorer is required to attend a one time, nine day Explorer Academy sponsored by the Sonoma County Explorer Advisors Association. This academy is held on Sundays at the Santa Rosa Junior College Public Safety Training Center in Windsor.


Applicants to the program must pass a mandatory background investigation. Requirements for entry include:

  • Maintain a minimum ‘C’ grade average in school

  • Have a history of good conduct

  • Pass an oral board interview

  • Have a history of good school attendance

  • No felony arrests

  • Good driving history if licensed

  • Fingerprinting

Applicants are not required to have any related experience prior to becoming an Explorer.
To join we need:

  • Completed application

  • Commitment to the post and community are a fundamental value held by our Explorers. The work is rewarding and fun. Many Explorers have become fulltime law enforcement officers.

How to Join

For more information about the application process or for any general questions, please contact one of the following advisors:

Sheriff's Main Office (Santa Rosa Area):

If you are interested in applying for the Explorer Program in the Main Office, please contact Administrative Aide Kelsey Stewart at Kelsey.Stewart@sonoma-county.org.

Deputy Francine Keller - Francine.Keller@sonoma-county.org

Deputy Mike Peters - Michael.Peters@sonoma-county.org

Windsor Police Department

Legal Processor Beth Salkin - Elizabeth.Salkin@sonoma-county.org

Deputy Aziz Atallah - Aziz.Atallah@sonoma-county.org

Sonoma Police Department

Deputy Robert Woodworth - Robert.Woodworth@sonoma-county.org