RIVERSIDE — Hanford Police Department Explorers are one step away from a perfect year after winning their third overall championship over the weekend.

The Explorers competed against around 30 other teams on Oct. 5-6 in the 2019 Riverside Police Explorer Competition.

This win marks 21 championships for the team in the last several years.

The Explorers placed in the top five teams in nine of the 13 scenarios, including:

  • First place – relay team, pedestrian stop and officer down
  • Second place – female Explorer obstacle course
  • Third place – male Explorer obstacle course, domestic violence scenario, unknown risk traffic stop scenario, male adviser obstacle course
  • Fifth place – crime scene investigation

“They were solid all around,” said post adviser Sgt. Albert Cano, who added that communication is a major key to winning for the Explorers. He said he’ll always be happy as long as they just compete as well as they can and let the chips fall where they may.

Cano said the Riverside competition was one of the more difficult ones the team has faced, as they went up against larger, more tactical CHP or police department posts from the Los Angeles area and Bay Area.

“I’m really proud that our little team from Hanford went there and competed against those other teams,” Cano said.

He also said the team faced a new event they’ve never done before, which was a handgun shooting competition at a shooting range. Cano said they didn’t place in this event, but it was a unique experience for them.

Another key component in the team is the advisers, Cano said. He said officers like Patrick Jurdon, Chad Medeiros and Rolando Jaime do a bulk of the training with the Explorers. New adviser DJ Vargas is on the SWAT team, so Cano said he brings a new perspective.

“The advisers give 100% and the kids really buy into it,” Cano said.

In addition, Cano said the post would not be able to do what they do without the backing and support of Hanford Police Chief Parker Sever and the rest of the department.

Hanford Explorers have one more competition this Friday and will be done until competitions start again next year. In the meantime, Cano said they will continue to train and focus on their community service, another important aspect of the program.

As part of their community service, Explorers help with events around town, help the department with some of their operations, help with the Pal program and talk with junior high kids about what they do in the program, among many other community service opportunities.

The team currently has around 25 Explorers, but Cano anticipates losing around 10 of them in the upcoming year due to them aging out. He said he’s used to rebuilding the team every couple of years, so they will continue to recruit new Explorers.

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

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