In 1966 James E. ‘Jim’ Breining was recruited to be the advisor to the Des Moines Police Explorer Post #21. What he accepted was a lifelong love and commitment to the organization and its youth. Jim and his Explorers quickly established themselves as leaders of innovation in the ‘hands on’ training of teenagers to be law enforcement officers. It was one of the earliest units to offer a ride-along program pairing youth with Police Officers in a regular patrol environment. An active weapons training program and traveling pistol team were also parts of the curriculum.
In 1972 Post #21 created their week long in-residence training academy as an annual requirement for those interested in belonging to Post #21 and potentially becoming police officers.
In 1973 Jim and his youth leader, Explorer Chief Kent Jefferies, traveled the U.S. spending their own time and money to build a consensus that a National Association of Law Enforcement Exploring was needed to fully promote the successful marriage of Police Agencies and local youth. Quickly, Richard Clement, International Association of Chiefs’ of Police President, joined the team with Stuart Knight, Director of the U.S. Secret Service soon to follow. Within 1 year, the Association was born and Jim’s Explorer Chief, Kent, was elected its first National Youth Representative. Four years later, Jim provided another National Explorer Youth Representative, Robert Tompkins, who helped lay the groundwork for the National Law Enforcement Explorer Competition as we know it today.
In addition to being a father to three great daughters and devoted husband to his wife Barbara, he was father to hundreds of Law Enforcement Explorers from across the country on a distinctly personal level and thousands of others by association. Recognized with Boy Scouts of America’s top award, the Silver Beaver, Jim was a champion of the movement which brought teenagers and law enforcement back together after its turbulent 1960’s relationship.
Today, youth in Public Safety training boast thousands of members whose roots can be traced in large part to Lt. James E. Breining.
Jim joined our Lord Jesus in 2003 carrying with him the accolades of thousands of Explorers, family and friends. At that time, his friends and family chose to pick up the mantel he left us to continue to promote Law Enforcement Youth Training and its ideals of character, leadership, love of Country and family. The Executive Board of the Scholarship Award Foundation is made up of former Explorers, family and friends.