HANFORD — With a fresh group of Explorers, the Hanford Police Department hopes to continue its efforts of instilling the necessary skills needed by these law enforcement hopefuls to succeed in the future.
Those efforts were evidenced by an overall win for the Hanford Explores this past weekend at the 11th Annual Central Valley Explorer Challenge hosted by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.
The competition included scenarios designed to test the strengths and limitations of an Explorer’s intelligence, personality, demeanor and physical abilities, as well as dedication and conviction for the Explorer Program.
The Hanford Explorers placed first in four individual scenarios, including officer down, felony stop, Explorer ride-along and tug-of-war.
They also placed second in the domestic violence scenario, crime scene investigation and building entry, and third place in pedestrian stop, oral interview and obstacle course relay.
“It was a good competition,” said Sgt. Albert Cano, the post’s adviser. “It was nice because this is a different group of Police Explorers.”
He said there are currently around 15 Explorers in the program, many of whom are new.
Cano attributes the programs continued success to overwhelming support from the department. He said Hanford Police Chief Parker Sever is committed to helping with the Explorers’ training needs and making sure they have everything they need.
He said another contributing factor is the team effort and guidance from other advising police officers, including DJ Vargas, Chad Medeiros, Josh Chavez, Patrick Jurdon and Jarred Cotta, who all offer their expertise to the young Explorers.
The department is currently recruiting other young people to join the Explorer post. Cano said they would like to add around 10 people to have a total of around 25 Explorers for a full team.
Anyone between the ages of 13 and 21 years old interested can apply, provided they keep their grades up and have a clean background.
In addition to training for three hours twice a month, Explorers are also required to complete at least four hours of community service every month. Cano said they help at several local events, like March of Dimes.
Cano said he’s always pleasantly surprised when he sees Explorers doing 16 hours or more of community service and volunteering in a month.
Cano said the post will compete in a couple more events throughout the year. He said the Explorers are a great group and he expects they will have a lot of success, not just as competitors, but as citizens as well.
“They’re very sharp, smart kids,” Cano said. “I look forward to the future.”
As for some of the previous senior Explorers, Cano was proud to say at least one is in the police academy and several others are undergoing background checks to become some type of law enforcement officers.