Our youth programs, coordinated largely by our School Resource Officers, help to instill values in members of the youth community to help them grow and develop.  

Programs range from summer camps and mentorship opportunities to programs developed to teach young adults advanced driver safety skills. 

Office eats breakfast with high school student

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. Officers 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, officers 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, personal safety, peer pressure, 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.

For questions, contact PFC Antonio Vitale at 410-313-2617 or avitale@howardcountymd.gov.

2024 BearTrax camps are scheduled for  

  • Session 1: Aug. 4 - 6 
  • Session 2: Aug. 7 - 9



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.

Questions? Contact the CAT Program at 410-313-2207 or at CATProgram@howardcountymd.gov.

2024 C.A.T. classes: May 11th, June 8th, July 27th, Aug. 24th, Sept. 21st, Oct. 12th, Nov. 2nd, and Dec. 14th

Collision Avoidance Training

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.

2024 CAP Locations

July 1st, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Talbot Spring Pool*

July 2nd, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Glenwood Middle School

July 3rd, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Howard County Library System East Columbia Branch

July 5th, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., North Laurel Skate Park

July 15th, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Talbot Spring Pool*

July 16th, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Gary Arthur Community Center

July 17th, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Howard County Library System East Columbia Branch

July 18th , 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Blandair Regional Park East

July 19th, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., North Laurel Skate Park

July 29th, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Talbot Spring Pool*

July 31st, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Howard County Library System East Columbia Branch

*FREE swim from 12-2 p.m. in partnership with Columbia Association


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
  • Assist with Youth Police Academy
  • 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 (currently suspended due to COVID-19)
  • Compete against other Explorers in regional and national events

For questions, visit post1952.com, or contact PFC Lilly at 410-313-2610, or plilly@howardcountymd.gov.


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


The P.L.E.D.G.E. Leadership Camp is a week-long experience that teaches leadership, communication, teamwork, and decision-making abilities. The program is specifically designed to assist rising 9th graders to adjust to high school. Through a series of discussions and practical activities, participants learn the value of teamwork and develop leadership skills. Lessons and activities challenge their ability to make critical decisions, focus on core beliefs and values, recognize diversity and accept these differences as they work together towards a common goal. The P.L.E.D.G.E. mission continues into high school, as the 9th grade students and their School Resource Officer (SRO) strengthen their relationship. The SRO mentors the incoming freshman with P.L.E.D.G.E. student meetings to discuss high school social issues effecting their transition progress. P.L.E.D.G.E. students are invited to attend monthly day trips around the region with the SROs.

For questions, contact PFC Lilly at 410-313-2610, or plilly@howardcountymd.gov.

2024 P.L.E.D.G.E. camps are scheduled for

  • Week 1: June 24 - 28 
  • Week 2: July 22 - 26

Station Tours/ Meetings


Attention all youth groups, scouts and student organizations! Want to see behind the scenes at HCPD?

The Howard County Police Department provides tours of the police station, 911 center, and county emergency operations center for organized youth groups on Wednesday evenings. Due popular demand, groups must register in advance. Learn about fingerprinting and forensics, and how law enforcement operates in Howard County.

Group size of 15 or smaller preferred. Larger groups may be split to provide the best experience for all. Special considerations upon request.

Station tours for boy scouts and girl scouts are conducted the first Wednesday of the month during the school year. 

Questions? Contact HCPD's Community Outreach Division at 410-313-2207 and ask for Youth Services.


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


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 serve as jury members for a full school calendar year and 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 becoming a jury member, contact Katie Turner, Teen Court Coordinator, at kturner@howardcountymd.gov.

Applications are currently closed.


Youth Advisory Council


The Youth Advisory Council was established in order to provide Howard County youth with a safe and engaging environment to interact with their peers and their local police officers. Through this program, youth will not only learn about law enforcement, but will have an opportunity to give feedback and ideas to the Howard County Police Department.



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 participate in team-building exercises. Lunch and dinner are provided daily.

For questions, contact PFC Lilly at 410-313-2610, or plilly@howardcountymd.gov.

2024 Youth Police Academy is scheduled for July 7 to July 12, 2024.

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