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Community Services

Youth Services

The Winter Haven Police Department invests in youth!

Our goal is to engage our youth of all ages to keep campuses safe and to help build a strong relationship with the youth and their families for now and in the future. We believe in addressing problems early, before they become big problems.

We also believe in having fun!  Our many programs and activities off a variety of ways youth and their families can participate together alongside members of the Winter Haven Police Department.

Youth Programs

D.A.R.E | Drug Abuse Resistance Education

It is a ten-week program taught to all fifth grade students who attend school within the municipal boundaries of the City of Winter Haven. The D.A.R.E. program reaches children at the age where they are most receptive to drug prevention.

Project D.A.R.E. seeks to prevent adolescent drug use and reduce drug trafficking by eliminating the demand for drugs. D.A.R.E. provides students with the tools they need to build a better life and a brighter future.

  • The program teaches children to identify and resist social pressures to use drugs. D.A.R.E. instills a sense of self-confidence and the will power kids need in order to resist drugs.
  • The D.A.R.E. program was taught by Officer Terry Bowden of the Winter Haven Police Department from 1994 until his retirement in 2016, when Officer Kris Bhoj took the reins.
  • Over 9100 students have successfully completed the D.A.R.E. program since its inception. This program has tremendously impacted our community.
  • D.A.R.E. Officer Kris Bhoj visits kindergarten through fourth grade classes, conducts faculty workshops, actively participates in community projects and presents programs to Parent/Teacher organizations.
  • D.A.R.E was originally developed by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Unified School District in 1983. Conceived on the premise that prevention is the only long term answer to our drug problem, this innovative program is now being taught nationwide and in forty countries.

School Resource Officers

School Resource Officers are stationed at the public schools in the City of Winter Haven.

Youth Leadership Council

Members of the Youth Leadership Council will experience hands-on activities over the course of the four weeks while gaining a much better understanding of what it takes to work in the field of Public Safety.

The Council consists of approximately 12 members who serve voluntarily and meet every-other week with agency members for a total of four meetings. All sessions are held on Thursdays from 8am – 3pm.

2022 Dates:  June 16 – June 23 – July 7 – July 14
Graduation:  TBA

Activities for the Council include:

  • Experience hands-on scenarios with both Police and Fire.
  • Participate in activities at the Burnam-McCall Training Facility.
  • Tour the Polk County Jail, Booking Facility and meet with court officials.
  • Ride with both Winter Haven Police and Fire for a shift.
  • Tour the Polk County Sheriff’s Emergency Communications Center (9-1-1).

Download Your Quick Fact Sheet

Applications are accepted during the month of May

Download Application

For more information, contact Jamie Brown at or call 863-291-6178.

Explorers Program

The Winter Haven Police Department has opened the Explorers program for young men and women who have completed the eighth grade and are at least 14 years of age but have not yet reached their 21st birthday.

Law Enforcement Explorer posts help youth  gain insight into a variety of programs that offer hands-on career activities. For young men and women who are interested in careers in the field of law enforcement, Exploring offers experiential learning with lots of fun-filled, hands-on activities that promote the growth and development of adolescent youth.

All Explorer applicants must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be between the ages of 14 and 21
  2. Not have been convicted of any serious crime
  3. Be free of any mental or physical disabilities which would limit participation or place the program and its members in jeopardy of any civil liability.
  4. Maintain a minimum of a 2.0 GPA in school
  5. Be willing to abide by the rules and regulations of the Post

What can l expect as a Law Enforcement Explorer?

You can expect to have fun, learn a lot about the field of law enforcement, and to meet some really great people who are interested in helping you learn about the career field of law enforcement. When you become a certified Explorer you will be given a class A uniform, which is similar to that of the police officer.

Explorer Activities

  • National Law Enforcement Explorer Activities and training
  • Weekly or bi-monthly administrative meeting and training
  • Patrol “ride-a-longs”
  • Community Service
  • Honor Guard
  • Search and Rescue (some ESAR posts specialize in this)
  • Radio Procedure (how to properly use police radios)
  • Traffic Stops (how to perform traffic stops)
  • High Risk Car Stops (how to pull over a vehicle deemed wanted for felony or violent crimes)
  • Building/ Cell Searches (how to search structures for people or evidence)
  • Crime Scene Investigations (how to search for, log, and process evidence such as fingerprints and DNA)
  • Arrest Control (how to properly defend oneself and arrest a suspect)
  • Active Shooter (how to engage a gunman in high-risk situations)
  • Hostage Negotiations (taking control of a situation through conversation)
  • Report Writing (how to properly write a police report)
  •  Domestic Disputes (how to handle domestic conflicts)
  • Weapon Training (Baton, Firearms, Aerosol Control Device (in most cases, Oleoresin Capsicum), Electronic Control Devices)
  • 911 Disconnect Call (how to approach an unknown call)
  • Signal 13 Calls (how to approach a S-13 properly) Bomb Threat Response (how to approach the situation with officer safety)
  • Burglary In Progress
  • Emergency Field First Aid
  • Shoot / Don’t Shoot

Contact WHPD Explorers for more information.