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Youth Programs

Ventura Police Department Explorers

Ventura’s Police Explorer Program is designed for youth, ages 14-18, who are interested in learning about a career in law enforcement. The program is taught by VPD officers and staff who provide hands-on activities and interactive  learning sessions about local police operations. As an explorer, students will participate in patrol ride-alongs, accident investigations, defensive tactics, evidence collection and processing, community service, field trips to meet other law enforcement agencies  and first responders, and much more.


The Ventura Police Department wants to build strong, trusting, and lasting relationships with Ventura's youth. This unique hands-on program helps build positive experiences between explorers and staff. By making connections early and  offering an inside look at policing, VPD hopes to inspire young men and women to pursue a career locally as Ventura Police officers, dispatchers, and professional staff.


Funding to launch the program, and for ongoing field trips, is provided by the Ventura Police Community Foundation.


To learn more about the program, eligibility requirements, and more, visit

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Shop With a Cop

Each December, the Ventura Police Department partners with Walmart to host Shop with a Cop, an opportunity for police officers and staff to connect with local children from low-income and foster families and take them shopping for the holiday season! Each child is partnered with an officer for the duration of the event and they enjoy quality time together eating sweet treats, making wish lists, meeting Santa, shopping for family members, wrapping gifts, and creating valuable memories!


The Ventura Police Community Foundation sponsors the purchase of gift cards for each child, as well as t-shirts for each child.

Castro Family Toy Drive

Each year, the Ventura Police Department partners with the Castro Family Toy Drive to host a toy drive supporting kids receiving cancer treatment (chemotherapy, IV medications, transfusions, etc.) at the Children's Center for  Cancer and Blood Diseases at the Ventura County Medical Center. On top of the mental anguish of supporting a child through cancer treatment, about 80% of the families supported each year are in dire financial need. While gifts are a great way to support a  family through the holiday season, they are little help if you can't put food on the table. The Ventura Police Community Foundation supports the Castro Family Toy Drive by supplying grocery store gift cards for each family.


Over the past 10+ years, the Castro Family has given a holiday celebration to over 4,500 children and has provided over 11,000 toys to patients at the treatment center.

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