On The Beat With Lt. Schoeppner

LT. SchoeppnerIf you speak to enough police officers, you will discover that most have had an interest in law enforcement since they were young. I think I was in junior high school when I gave the first serious thought to becoming a police officer. The law enforcement profession recognizes this and looks to cultivate this interest shown by some young people with the “Police Explorer Program”.

DeKalb County’s Explorer Program had fallen into disuse for some time, but was revived two years ago.

The Police Explorers are a law enforcement-focused youth group that is sponsored by the Boy Scouts and the Police Athletic League. It is open to young men and women between 14 and 21 years of age. The Explorers meet every Tuesday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Fire HQ building at 1950 West Exchange Place in Tucker. They are led by retired Captain Frank Kliesrath and retired Lieutenant Melanie Knight.

Potential explorers go through a routine background check and need to be of good character. They receive training that is based on classes taught at the Police Academy. Some of this training includes leadership, good citizenship, verbal judo and various aspects of community service. It is also common for the explorers to be tasked with helping officers assigned to the Police Athletic League. One of these recent functions in Tucker was during the Main Street “Trunk or Treat” on Halloween. Members of the Explorers are also eligible for exclusive college scholarships when they graduate high school. The ultimate goal of this program is to help young men and women lay a strong foundation with which to start a successful law enforcement career. Even if Explorers doesn’t lead to a police career, the training and community service experience can be immeasurably helpful with young people seeking careers in the private sector.

Anyone interested in the DeKalb Police Explorers can call the Police Athletic League at 770-724-7479. You can also email Lt. Knight at meknight7631@gmail.com. If you have an interest in public safety, but don’t think that being a police officer is your thing, there are also Explorer programs for fire and EMS sponsored by the DeKalb County Fire Department and American Medical Response. They can be reached at 404-840-0564.


On April 11, our officers responded to a call for a theft at 4750 Hugh Howell Road. It seems thieves where stealing copper from the old Sears Building. The officers arrived in time to corner a suspect inside the building. Through diligent police work, three suspects were eventually arrested for burglary.

You often see police officers on the news making arrests or chasing the “bad guys”, but at its core, our job is to protect our citizens. On April 12, a Tucker citizen reported to DeKalb Police that they were trying to cross Lavista Road at Main Street with their one-month old child; not an easy task. That citizen reported that a DeKalb officer stopped to direct traffic to help parent and baby get safely across the road. It’s a small gesture, but exemplary of the care our officers have for their community.


The job of a police officer can be tough, so sometimes it helps to have some fun. On April 7, officers from across the region competed in the Sports Car Club of America’s “Top Cop Challenge” at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Detective Armstrong, who works in our Traffic Specialty Unit, left the field eating his dust. He won first place in the event and brought home a nice trophy to be displayed at our headquarters.

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