Cadet and Explorer Programs

Cadet Program

Sgt. Todd Foster

To contact a recruiter, please call 865-215-7111 or visit

The Knoxville Police Department created the Police Cadet Program to enhance the recruitment of potential applicants for Police Officer. Applicants who wish to apply for a Police Cadet position should be between the ages of eighteen (18) and twenty-one (21) years of age, pass a drug test, background check, polygraph test, and a comprehensive psychological examination.

Cadets receive training facilitated by the KPD training staff before starting their assignments, which include such details as:

– Bicycle Patrols
– Walking patrols in downtown Knoxville
– Parking Enforcement
– Traffic Control at special events
– Help with KPD recruitment efforts
– Sobriety Checkpoints
– Safety demonstrations
– Assist sworn Patrol Officers with various assignments
– Take calls/reports from citizens in the Teleserve Unit

The Police Cadet Program is an alternative for those applicants who are not old enough to be employed as Police Officers, yet wish to pursue a career in a Law Enforcement. The program allows such candidates to be employed in non-enforcement activities, while receiving law enforcement training. When a Cadet turns twenty-one (21) years of age they will be eligible for employment as a Knoxville Police Officer and can attend the Police Academy. Cadets currently receive the following benefits:

– Salary of $31,439 per year
– Ten (10) paid vacation days per year
– Twelve (12) paid sick days per year
– Yearly uniform allowance
– Health, Dental and Life Insurance
– Wellness and Employee Assistance Program
– College reimbursement Program (Currently up to $3,000.00)

Explorer Program

The Knoxville Police Department Explorer Post is a volunteer organization that was formed to provide a law enforcement background and training to senior members of the Boy Scouts of America. 

The goal of the Police Explorer Post is to prepare individuals between the ages of 14 and 21 years of age to become police officers through education, training, and work experience. Individuals belonging to the Explorer Post are encouraged to transition to the Knoxville Police Department Cadet Program at 18 years of age. 

The Explorer Post comes under the supervision of the Patrol Commander. Sworn police officers are advisors and managers of the post. They supervise and oversee all activities in which the Explorers are involved. 

General Information

  • The Explorer Post is an organization within the Knoxville Police Department and is affiliated with Learning-for-Life / Exploring (a branch of the Boy Scouts of America).
  • Designed to educate and expose those who are interested in law enforcement to the aspects and functions of the job, helping to determine a future career path.
  • The Explorer Post provides working support to the Knoxville Police Department.
  • Applicants are taken year round. Orientations for parents and explorers, along with the basic 60 hour Explorer Academy, are held once or twice a year. 


  • For young men and women ages 14-20 years old who have completed the eighth grade
  • The Explorer Unit is very disciplined organization. They must maintain a professional demeanor and attitude both on and off duty
  • Explorer applicants are required to attend an orientation meeting with their parent / guardian, and complete necessary application forms
  • The applicant must have no criminal history.
  • Most equipment and uniforms are provided by the Knoxville Police Department, but the Explorer is required to purchase a few items prior to, and throughout, their tenure
  • There are no fees or dues
  • The Explorer must maintain an academic average of 2.0 or higher at school
  • Must be dedicated, physically fit, and able/willing to follow basic instructions/directions
  • The Explorer is required to attend meetings, training, and events with minimal absences
  • The Explorers are required to abide by the Explorer Standard Operating Procedures, as well as all Knoxville Police Department General Orders. 

Meetings / Training

  • Regular meetings are held every Tuesday from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
  • Meetings consist of administrative updates, scheduling upcoming events, and training.
  • Due to the nature of the work, the training is very formal and disciplined
  • Recruits and Explorers must achieve at least an 80% on all academics

Basic training includes:

  • Overview of the police department
  • Basic Criminal Law
  • Traffic Control
  • Officer Survival
  • Defensive Driving
  • Patrol Procedures
  • Radio Procedures
  • Firearms 

Activities and assignments include:

  • UT home football games
  • Crime Prevention Events
  • Downtown Events and Patrols
  • Ride-a-Long program
  • Competitions with other posts
  • Assist with KPD Boat Patrols 

For additional information or to inquire about joining the Explorer Post, email Sergeant Todd Foster at