ECSO Explorer Sgt. Shelby Snodgress accepted into National Leadership Academy

Photo courtesy Ellis County Sheriff's Office.

ELLIS COUNTY — Ellis County Sheriff's Office Explorer Sgt. Shelby Snodgress has been accepted into the U.S. Marshals National Leadership Academy. The one-week academy will be held in July in Washington, D.C. Snodgress, 18, is the daughter of Marc and Cheryl Snodgress of Waxahachie and is a three-year member of the Sheriff's Office's Explorer Post.

"I applied to the U.S. Marshals Leadership Academy because I felt it was better tailored to my future goals," Snodgress said, noting the academy will include "lots of sightseeing, team building exercises and opportunities to learn better ways to work as a team."

"I honestly don't know what to expect, but I know I'm going to come away a better leader and a better Explorer," said Snodgress, who credits Exploring for the skills she has developed so far. "Explorers has taught me how to have command presence, how to build confidence and how to work together on teams with different people.

"I will definitely do my best to just soak everything in and bring what they teach back to Texas so I can continue to help make our post a better one," she said. "I would share what I learned after sitting down with our head advisor and talking over what I learned – and what we can implement into our post."

Among her accomplishments, Snodgress lists membership on the four-person Sheriff's Office Explorer team that placed first overall at the 2014 Texas Law Enforcement Explorer Advisors Association state competition.

As an Explorer and as a member of the Sheriff's Office's Exploring Post command staff, Snodgress says she has "the opportunity to be a positive influence on young people that maybe aren't going down the right paths in their lives. That wouldn't be able to happen without being in Explorers: being able to go on ride-outs and learning, having deputies in my life and other Explorers' lives to look up to as role models, and then turning around and being able to serve as a role model to the Explorers that are under my care.

"It's knowing that, as an Explorer, I'm making a difference," she says. "I'm giving young people the opportunity that I had to see that maybe law enforcement is the path that they want to travel down. It's being able to encourage others, to push them to discover the potential that I see in them. If I didn't have my advisor and a couple Explorers pushing me, encouraging me, I never would've been able to reach my full potential and realize that I can be a law enforcement officer."

Snodgress' future plans include going into the U.S. Air Marshals Service and, after finishing her service with that agency, possibly coming back to become a canine officer.

Only 90 Explorers from around the nation were selected for this summer's academies sponsored by Learning for Life. In all, four Explorers from the Ellis County Sheriff's Office Exploring Post were accepted. Besides Snodgress, Explorer Capt. Colten Prater, Explorer Lt. Gage Adams and Explorer Sgt. Trevor Snodgress were all accepted to this summer's academies.