Four years in the Federal Way Police Explorers has helped prepare Anna Murphy for the Air Force and possibly a career in law enforcement.
The Federal Way Police Explorers are a group of volunteer young adults ages 15 to 21 interested in law enforcement and serving the Federal Way community.
“It was probably the best thing I ever chose to do,” the 18-year-old said.
Murphy said her father, Lt. Cary Murphy, who is a police officer in Federal Way, got her started in Explorers.
“I was kind of looking into law enforcement. He was like, we have program for kids,” Anna Murphy said. “… Originally I was kind of looking at the teacher route but didn’t really want to be behind a desk. I want to do something that is exciting. That’s when I was like let’s test it out and see if it is going to be something I am interested in. That’s when I joined, and I really liked it.”
Murphy worked her way through the ranks to become commander, the highest rank in Explorers.
Federal Way Police Chief Andy Hwang presented Murphy with the Police Chief’s Commendation Medal at the Feb. 20 City Council meeting. The medal is presented to individuals who go above and beyond the call of duty.
“Becoming a commander in Explorers is a pretty tough task,” Hwang said, adding that this was the first time he has given the award to a police explorer. “She went way beyond being a commander. She practically lived here. She did a lot of work.”
Murphy said she spent about 40 to 50 hours per month volunteering with the Explorers.
“I was known for the high hours,” Murphy said.
Explorers are required to volunteer at least 10 hours a month, most of which they get from attending twice-monthly meetings.
But Murphy exceeded the requirement, spending hours helping with filing, fingerprinting or assisting at community events.
“There were days I went to high school and then straight to basketball and then I went straight to Explorers,” the Stadium High School graduate said. “There were days I left at 6 a.m. and didn’t come back until 9 (p.m.).”
Murphy’s dedication didn’t go unnoticed by the department.
“She’s a true leader,” said Detective Kristopher Krusey, the Federal Way Police Explorer adviser. “She is one that I have relied on from the day she became command staff. She has drive.”
Murphy said she wasn’t expecting to receive the Police Chief’s Commendation Medal, but it was a nice way to end her career with the Explorers. She has since left for Air Force basic training.
“About a week before the (council meeting) my dad had texted me ‘Hey, the chief wants to thank you. Can you come to the council meeting?’ I just thought it was going to be thank you and a handshake type of thing until I started noticing all my advisers were there in uniform,” Murphy said. “… I was very surprised. I didn’t think it was going to be any kind of award or anything like that. I am still in shock about the whole thing.”
Murphy said her time in the Explorers prepared her for the military, where she will work in law enforcement.
“I was originally going to be a cop here (in Federal Way) but you have to be 21, so I was like what could I do?” Murphy said. “I was like military sounds good, so I started looking into that.”
Murphy decided on the Air Force to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather. She said she would like to be a police officer in Federal Way after her military service.
Serving the public appeals to Murphy.
“I like the experience you get when you help someone, even just finding someone’s stolen property and giving it back,” she said.
Murphy recommends the Police Explorers program to anyone interested in a career in law enforcement.
“Not only do you get to meet everyone, you also meet the people who are going to hire you,” she said. “If you are interested in law enforcement you definitely get to get close with the people that are hiring.”
The Explorers meet at 6 p.m. the first and third Mondays of the month in the Patrick Maher Room of Federal Way City Hall, 33325 Eighth Ave. S.
Youth interested in Explorers are welcome to attend the meetings to find out more about the program.
“Anytime they want to come, all of our Explorers are willing to talk to anybody,” Krusey said.
For more information, visit federalwaypoliceexplorers.com.