A Brownwood police officer has expressed interest in taking over the Explorer program as its top adviser, and officials remain hopeful the youth program can continue following the arrest of former adviser Vince Ariaz.
Brownwood Police Chief Virgil Cowin declined to name the officer because he hasn’t yet committed to taking on the task. The post’s top adviser must be a certified peace officer, Cowin said.
Associate adviser Cal Gray said plans are to continue the program with greater involvement from Explorer parents and with more women associate advisers.
The post had been operating with one female adviser when Ariaz was arrested, but she is moving soon with her family to another state, Gray said. He said the post is in the process of signing up three new women associate advisers, and they, with three male associate advisers, will help run the program.
Ariaz remains in the Brown County Jail, accused of having sexual contact with two female Explorers.
“Now that we have these female advisers, we’ll have a better way to detect and prevent (improprieties),” Gray said. “I’ve always thought that we needed more female advisers.
“The female advisers will be at every meeting, every training, so they can watch the girls and the boys too. It just gives us more eyes to detect anything that might be out of the ordinary.”
Gray and Cowin were among those who met Saturday with Explorers and their families. “I want the parents to know that I’m more than willing for the parents to be involved in the program,” Gray said.
“They expressed concern over what was taking place in the program and (said) they had never been able to participate” in the Explorers.
The post currently has 14 members, Gray said.
Cowin estimated that 40 or more attended Saturday’s meeting. He said when he asked how many wanted to see the Explorer program continue, “every hand was raised.”
An Explorer parent said “there should be no looking back at the past, and we should focus on the future,” Cowin said.
“There were some questions. There were come concerns about some of the things that have occurred.”
He said Explorers will man barricades on city streets at Saturday’s rodeo parade. A graduation ceremony for Explorers who recently completed basic training will be held July 31 at the Adams Street Community Center, Cowin said.