HIALEAH GARDENS (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins FOOTBALL UNITES program is partnering with the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department on a series of initiatives designed to promote positive interaction between kids and law enforcement.
FOOTBALL UNITES is part of the Dolphins’ “Teamwork at Work” program which strives to “level the playing field through the power of teamwork to inspire a healthier, more educated and united South Florida community.”
As part of Friday’s announcement, students who are part of the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department Police Explorers program took part in football drills at Hialeah Gardens High School.
In addition, the Dolphins announced the first recipient of a scholarship fund that pays full tuition to the police academy.
Police explorer Emily Santana, who attends Miami Center High School, was shocked and honored to hear her name called.
“Wow, I’m just blessed, very blessed. It’s a big opportunity, it’s an open door to my future. Like everyone says ‘You have a big future ahead of you’ and I’m a strong believer in that,” said Emily.
Emily says it has always been a passion of hers to go into law enforcement. She’s been in the Police Explorer program for four years and is inspired by her sister and her uncle who are both in law enforcement.
The program will award one scholarship to a Police Explorer every year.
As part of FOOTBALL UNITES, teenagers in the Police Explorers Program can take part in The Captains Program, cultural tours and CommUNITY Tailgates. In addition, the Dolphins will provide uniform shirts to Police Explorers.
The Police Explorers Program is a volunteer program sponsored by MDSPD. To be a Police Explorer, you must be between 14 to 18 years old and have a minimum 2.0 GPA. The program gives participants the opportunity to learn about a career in law enforcement.
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The Miami-Dade County Schools Police Department currently have just over 300 officers and is growing to over 500 in the next 18 months, making it the largest school based police department in the country, according to Schools Police Chief Edwin Lopez.