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Glendale police explorers score in state competition

August 23, 2012|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com
(Glendale Police…)

A troop of young Glendale police prospects were honored this week for earning a top award for their performance in a driving-under-the-influence scenario during an annual statewide competition.

The City Council on Tuesday recognized 15 Glendale Police Explorers of Explorer Post 104 for their efforts in the 2012 Central Valley Explorer Competition in July that included more than two dozen police agencies.

“You really are our future, you’re the future of the city and you’re also the future of the Glendale Police department,” Councilwoman Laura Friedman told the explorers.

The explorers earned first place in the DUI stop scenario, in which they were graded on how well they conducted a traffic stop of a wrong-way driver, evaluated the driver for drug or alcohol use, and performed a series of field sobriety tests, said the post’s captain, Christopher Mulder, a Glendale Community College student.

He and a fellow Explorer Zaven Simonyan used their first-hand experience at DUI checkpoints to conduct a proper stop, Mulder said.

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The DUI stop was one of 12 scenarios — including a hostage rescue, bus assault and crime-scene investigation — that the explorers participated in.

Mulder said the post is particularly proud of its top finish, given the fact that Glendale went up against posts from much larger agencies, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The award, he said, also demonstrates the Glendale Police Department’s dedication in teaching its Explorers proper police procedures.

Explorer prospects must first go through an interview process, background and home checks, have good grades, obtain recommendations and demonstrate a strong interest in law enforcement, said Officer Renae Kerner, who has been a program advisor for seven years.

The Explorers, who are local residents and mostly attend area schools, participate in an intensive 20-week course that takes up their Thursdays and Saturdays.

“Dealing with these guys is the big breath of fresh air that gives you hope,” Kerner said.

The Explorers’ volunteer efforts, she said, have also saved the city money.

Chief Ron De Pompa said the Explorer program not only tries to recruit and represent the community, but also allows participants who also enroll in an hourly cadet program in college to go through “an abbreviated hiring process.”

“People ought to realize this is really the future of the Glendale Police Department,” he said.

Mulder says he can’t imagine being anywhere else.

“Glendale Police Department is where I’d like to call home,” the Explorer said.

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Follow Veronica on Google+ and Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA

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