The Hanford Police Department Explorers are on a roll, taking first place overall at a competition for the 15th time in the last couple years.

The Explorers competed at the 2017 Central Coast Law Enforcement Explorer Competition in San Miguel Oct. 7-9, with three Explorers also winning scholarship prizes at the competition.

Sgt. Albert Cano, an adviser for the Hanford team, said events are designed to test the strengths and limitations of a person’s intelligence, personality, demeanor and physical abilities, as well as dedication and conviction for the Explorer Program.

Cano said the competition tests the Explorers’ physical abilities and teamwork through obstacle courses, relay races and tug of war. He said mental abilities are tested through a variety of events including a medical scenario, a law enforcement entry level written exam and an oral board panel.

Not only did the Hanford Explorers win the competition, they placed in the top five in 20 of 21 events, including first place in a whopping 15 events.

The first place events included scenarios on things like:

  • Felony stop
  • Medical scenario
  • Domestic violence
  • Driving under the influence
  • Crime scene investigation
  • Hazardous response
  • Written exam
  • Oral panel
  • Tug of war
  • Relay race
  • Team obstacle
  • Male individual obstacle
  • Female individual obstacle

The team also placed in the top five in building search, nighttime traffic stop, nighttime suspicious, crisis negotiation and Explorer ride along.

Cano said he believes the team does so well at the competitions because of the hours of training they receive from their advisers.

“They get the same training as regular police officers,” Cano said. “They are technically and tactically very sound.”

Explorers Nick Lindsay, Avery Cuthbertson and Victor Medina also participated in a scholarship process that involved an application, personal essays and interview from a panel.

Lindsay received a fifth place award and laptop; Cuthbertson received fourth place and a laptop; and Medina received first place including a laptop and $1,000 cash award.

Medina, 18, said he went into the interview confident and was definitely happy with the outcome. The Explorer of one year is proud of what the team has accomplished.

“Personally, I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever joined,” Medina said. “It’s a big part of my life now. I’ve met friends and learned a lot.”

Lindsay, 19, who has been an Explorer for over three years, said the Explorers had a great weekend at the competition because their communication skills were on point, they worked as a team and each person knew what they had to do.

“It was definitely a team effort,” said Cuthbertson, 17, a four-year Explorer veteran.

All three of the scholarship-winning Explorers said they are going to pursue careers in law enforcement and said the program is teaching them teamwork and other skills necessary to be officers.

Medina, who attends West Hills College Lemoore; Lindsay, who attends College of the Sequoias Hanford Center; and Cuthbertson, who attends Sierra Pacific; all said they will use their laptops for school.

Along with training and competing, the Explorers complete thousands of hours of community service around Hanford every year.

“I love showing the positive side of law enforcement,” Medina said.

Cano and the Explorers wanted to thank advisers Jarred Cotta, Josh Chavez, Alsie Ortega, Jaime Rolando and Jonathan Farr for their support, hard work and dedication to the team.

“It’s not about coming in first place all the time, but about giving 100 percent,” Cano said. “I’m proud of them; they put in a lot of time and effort.”

The reporter can be reached at 583-2423 or jzavala@hanfordsentinel.com

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