• October 26, 2016

Killeen police reopen Explorer program

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Posted: Thursday, May 10, 2012 12:00 pm

Youth outreach now supervised by child safety coordinator

By Philip Jankowski

Killeen Daily Herald

Killeen police have reopened the youth outreach program and given it a new name after it was suspended in January amid allegations that its coordinator sexually assaulted a 16-year-old participant.

Police completed an administrative review of the Killeen Police Explorer Program, which found the alleged sexual assault to be an isolated incident not indicative of the entire program, police spokeswoman Carroll Smith said Wednesday.

She characterized the reopening as a "revamp."

The program has been renamed the KPD Law Enforcement Explorer Program and is now supervised by a child safety coordinator instead of an officer volunteer, Smith said.

The child coordination position is a new civilian job at the department.

Smith said the safety coordinator has close ties to the Killeen Independent School District and police administration.

"They're under administrative services, so it will be closer to the chief," Smith said.

Filling that position is Julian Martinez, who has a background in corrections, including executive work contracted by the U.S. Department of Justice in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said.

Martinez said he has made starting the KPD Law Enforcement Explorer Program his top priority.

"My primary goal is to get these kids involved," he said.

Other changes instituted for the program include a board review of officers who want to participate.

Police halted the program after they received information that a 16-year-old student had a sexual relationship with fired officer Kirt Yarbrough.

Yarbrough was and indicted in Coryell and Bell counties earlier this year on charges of sexual assault. He allegedly had sex with the student at hotels in Temple and Copperas Cove in December.

Evidence against Yarbrough includes text messages and Internet chats that indicated a sexual relationship. Police also found a photo on a cellphone of Yarbrough and the alleged victim kissing.

Yarbrough's trial in Bell County is scheduled for July 30.

The department placed him on administrative leave following his arrest.

His termination was upheld by an administrative board, and Yarbrough had not filed an appeal, Killeen police chief Dennis Baldwin said.

Contact Philip Jankowski at philipj@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.

About KPD Law Enforcement Explorer

Eligibility: The program is open to people between the ages of 14 and 20. Applicants must have completed eighth grade and have had no previous serious police involvements.

Responsibilities: Explorers work with officers in meetings, projects, social functions and the ride-along program. They are required to maintain good grades and a dress code while functioning as an Explorer. During official functions, Explorers are considered a part of KPD.

To apply: Applications are available at KPD headquarters, 3304 Community Blvd. Applicants can also contact KPD Child Safety Coordinator Julian Martinez at (254) 200-7930 or at jmartinez2@killeentexas.gov.

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