Youth Programs


BearTrax is an overnight camp and mentorship program that is designed to enhance relationships between police officers and youth and provides role models that help a child develop socially and emotionally. Mentors help kids learn to understand and communicate their feelings, to relate to their peers, and to develop positive relationships with other adults. Through the BearTrax Camp, mentors will attempt to instill children with a healthy sense of importance and self-confidence. They will be taught communication skills, conflict management and a sense of respect for others. The Camp will reinforce important social lessons, where entertaining activities will be used to focus on topics such as physical fitness, bullying, anger management, first aid, personal safety, gang awareness, peer pressure, cyber safety, team building, character building and community services. School administrators will continue to be the primary source for identifying students who would most benefit from the BearTrax Camp and who are transitioning from elementary school to middle school.

Collision Avoidance Training

The Collision Avoidance Training (C.A.T.) program is an advanced defensive driving and vehicle control program for licensed teenage drivers ages 16-20 years old. The one-day program (8.5 hours) is designed to provide young drivers with the knowledge and understanding of vehicle dynamics.

The first section of the program is devoted to two (2) hours of classroom instruction. This session gives students a better understanding of why the vehicle responds the way it does and prepares the students for the behind-the-wheel exercise on the driving course.

The second section consists of six (6.5) hours of behind-the-wheel training. This course provides practical exercises that demonstrate how the vehicle responds in a given situation and how to regain control of the vehicle. The driving skills addressed in the program are: evasive maneuvers, threshold/emergency braking, forward serpentine, cornering, backing, reverse serpentine, and skid and off-road recovery.

During the behind-the-wheel training, students operate their own vehicles. Prior to the start of the training, each vehicle is inspected by an instructor to ensure that the vehicle is in good operational condition. Then each student, accompanied by an instructor (Howard County Police Officer), begins practicing the different driving skills/maneuvers. Each student must successfully complete each driving skill/maneuver in order to receive a certificate of completion. If the student does not satisfactorily complete the course, they are given the option of coming to another session for no additional cost.

The cost of the program is $95 and registration must be done in advance.

For further information or to register, please email C.A.T. Coordinator Jessica Beram at Note there is no online registration for the C.A.T. program.

2019 dates (all Saturdays): March 23, April 13, May 11, June 8, July 20, August 24, September 14, October 19, November 16, December 14 

Community Athletic Program

The Community Athletic Program, or CAP, consists of a traveling trailer filled with sports gear, games and video game equipment and staffed by school resource officers. The concept is for police to engage with at-risk youth in areas where young people congregate during the summer months. The CAP is deployed to neighborhoods where youth gather – usually unsupervised – and offers productive activities with an aim to deter crime and gang involvement. As an added benefit, the program fosters positive relationships between youth and police. Activities include basketball, baseball, flag football, floor hockey, tennis, board games, and video games.

2019 Summer Schedule (June 24-Aug. 19, except 7/4 and 8/5-8/9)

Mondays: East Columbia Library
Tuesdays: Talbott Springs Pool
Wednesdays: Blandair Park
Thursdays: Oakland Mills and Mayfield Woods Middle Schools
Fridays: North Laurel Community Center

No need to register in advance. Program runs 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Explorer Post 1952

Explorer Post 1952 offers young people an opportunity to learn about law enforcement and serve the community. Exploring is a worksite-based program and is designed to help youth gain insight into a career in law enforcement. Howard County Police Explorer Post 1952 offers experiential learning with fun, hands-on activities that promote growth and development. Explorers develop leadership and teamwork skills, preparing them to enter college or the workforce, while serving the community and enhancing public safety.

Minimum qualifications:

  • At least 14 years old and have completed the eighth grade or 15 - 20 years old
  • Howard County resident
  • Maintain at least a C average
  • Upstanding citizen
  • No criminal background
  • Parental permission
  • Recommendations


  • Direct traffic and control parking at various county events
  • Fingerprint children at special events
  • Participate in crime prevention activities


  • Learn police procedures, tactics and skills
  • Gain insight into a future career in law enforcement
  • Earn community service hours for high school and college
  • Ride along with police officers on patrol
  • Compete against other Explorers in regional and national events

P.L.E.D.G.E. Summer Leadership Camps

P.L.E.D.G.E. (pride, leadership, education, diversity, gang resistance, evaluation) Summer Leadership Camp is a free, one-week program designed to help students entering the ninth grade develop leadership skills. Through a series of discussions and practical activities, participants learn the value of teamwork and skills that foster leadership. Lessons and activities challenge their ability to make critical decisions, focus on core beliefs and values, recognize diversity and work toward a common goal. One highlight of the camp is a field trip with Terrapin Adventures, where campers participate in confidence-building activities. Campers navigate obstacle courses, play games and complete tasks designed to challenge the group to work together. If you know of a student who would benefit from the camp, please submit his or her name for consideration to any School Resource Officer.

The 2019 Summer P.L.E.D.G.E. camp is FULL. Check back in early 2020 for next summer's application.

For questions, contact Sgt. Jason Morrill at

Resiliency Adventure Project

The Resiliency Adventure Project (RAP) is a community-based program that aims to assist youth in building trust in others, developing positive coping skills and a strong sense of self, which promotes healthy decision making and resiliency in the face of adversity and challenge.

It includes:

  • a half-day climbing experience
  • serving youth age 13-17
  • facilitated by mental health clinicians
  • transportation available

Participants are accepted on a rolling basis and should compete and return the following forms to Howard County Police Department-Community Outreach Section, 10741 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, MD 21044, ATTN: Resiliency Adventure Project (RAP) or the email address below. Application | Waiver

*In order to build a strong network of support for our youth, a referring person is required. This includes: mental health providers of all kinds, guidance counselors, HCPD police officers and diversion and youth coordinators. Parents may not self refer their children. If assistance is needed in obtaining a referring person please contact us.

Questions? Contact the department's Mental Health Liaison: 410-313-2207 or

Teen Court: A real justice program, by teens, for teens

We’re looking for teens to volunteer as participants in the Howard County Teen Court! Volunteers hear real juvenile misdemeanor cases and render dispositions to first-time offenders. Teens serve as members of the jury, and as the court clerk, they get service hours for participating.

Teen Court offers the opportunity to first-time juvenile offenders who live in Howard County to accept responsibility for their misdemeanor crimes without having to incur a criminal record. Teen volunteers will hear cases like theft, disorderly conduct, destruction of property, alcohol possession, and other non-violent offenses. Dispositions for the offenders may include community service, educational programs, essays and apology letters. The program has proven successful in reducing rates of repeat offenders in other jurisdictions.

If you live in Howard County and are a high school student (grades 9-12 and under the age of 18) and are interested in learning more about Howard County Teen Court, contact Katie Turner, Teen Court Coordinator, at

Youth Advisory Council

HCPD's brand NEW Youth Advisory Council is looking for members!

This new council is designed to provide youth with a safe and engaging environment to interact with local law enforcement. The group will meet monthly with members of the department.

Who can join? Howard County residents in 8th-12th grade.

What are the benefits?
• Earn student service hours
• Advise the Chief of Police on youth concerns
• Be a positive agent of change in your community, school or place of worship
• Attend free educational and social field trips
• Gain and strengthen life skills such as leadership, public speaking and social skills

How do I apply? Complete and return an application form.

Questions? Contact HCPD Youth Liaison PFC W. Harris.
phone: 410-313-0275

Youth Police Academy


The Youth Police Academy is a free, one-week, overnight academy designed to help young people explore career and leadership opportunities, life skills and character education. Participants spend the week participating in law enforcement classroom instruction, practical applications and scenarios. Recruits participate in drill and ceremony, physical training, classroom instruction and practical exercises in patrol techniques, domestic violence, crime-scene processing and the execution of traffic stops. They also utilize a firearms simulator and participate in team-building exercises. The overnight accommodations include meals and uniform.

The deadline to apply for the 2019 YPA has passed.