Clark County Sheriff’s Office Explorer Post No. 893 attended the statewide Washington Law Enforcement Explorer Academy Aug. 11-16 at Yakima Firing Center in Yakima Washington.
At 5 a.m. on Aug. 11, 19 Explorers from 15-19 years of age piled into three vans and headed out to Yakima. Two civilian advisors and one CCSO Sergeant drove the vans to the Oregon side of the Bridge of the Gods to pickup a Skamania County Sheriff’s Office Explorer who also attended.
Three hours later, the group of 20 Explorers were standing at attention staring at their vocabulary words waiting to inprocess as yellow-shirted (Commissioned Law Enforcement) TAC officers grilled them on spelling and corrected their facing movements.
Clark County Sheriff’s Office took 11 males and 8 females to the academy. Three of the males were returning for their second academy, eight were attending for their first time. Of the females, three were returning for their third academy, two were returning for their second academy, and three were attending their first.
In all, 140 Explorers from all over the state attended for their first time (Basic Academy), 73 Attended for their 2nd-4th time (Advanced Academy), with an additional 20 veteran Explorers (attended 4-8 academies), with 55 Commissioned Officers and 5 civilian staff members.
The Explorer Academies run twice a year, once every August, and every Dec. 26-31. Clark County took more Explorers to the Academy this summer than any other post. Seattle sent 17 and Toppenish sent 15.
In November, the Clark County Explorer Post was approached by the lead advisor of the Clark County Skills Center Criminal Justice Program, Tony Shaver. He suggested a partnership that has strengthened the ability to provide training and opportunities to the youth of the local community interested in law enforcement.
This partnership has increased the participation in the explorer post and now it has regular attendance numbers over 20. The Vancouver Police Activities League (PAL) also stepped forward to be a fiscal agent for Explorer Post No. 893. With a donation from Diana Acuesta of the Vancouver Rotary Club, the Explorer Post had seed money for necessary supplies.
Law Enforcement Career Exploring is open to young men and women ages 15 and not yet 21 years old with an interest in learning more about careers in the field of Law Enforcement. Nationally, over 33,000 Explorers and 8,425 adult volunteers participate in Law Enforcement Exploring.
The program highlights include: the National Law Enforcement Exploring Leadership Academies, ride-alongs, career achievement awards, National Law Enforcement Exploring Conferences, and scholarship opportunities. To date Clark County hasn’t participated in National Conferences but hopes to in the future.
Clark County Explorers first sent six explorers to the Winter Academy of 2012. Last Summer, nine Explorers attended, and last winter 15 Explorers attended. The Academy cost the attendees $100 for the week. For those interested in providing a partial or full scholarship to an Explorer in need, donations can be made through Vancouver PAL (Explorers).
At the Advanced Academy, Explorers sat in classes and learned about law enforcement topics, went to the shooting range, performed physical exercise, and were tested daily on the presentations from the previous day and spelling words. One of the highlights for the Explorers is often the mock scenes where they are put through scenarios and graded by commissioned officers on how they handled the scene with their knowledge base and experience.
The following Explorers attended the Academy from Clark County: Anika Armstrong, of Battle Ground (2nd Physical Agility Advanced); Grady Baxter (1st Academics and Best Overall Basic); Ryan Erwin, James Farias-Vazquez, Mark Grundhauser, Trenton Kandoll, of Amboy; Klarissa Kelly, of Ridgefield; Jordan Lange, Emily Laurent, Hollen Martin, of La Center; Hunter Oliver, of Battle Ground (1st Academics Advanced); Jamie Pina-Marquez; Jacinda Rose, of Ridgefield (1st Physical Agility Advanced); Jed Shaver, Jacob Sortors, Michael Stevens, Joseph Stotz, Kelly Tepedino, Prairie High School graduate; and Ryan Wood, of Brush Prairie.
“They are an amazing group of young leaders,’’ said Shane Gardner, Community Outreach Sergeant for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.
Clark County Civilian Explorer Advisors Tony Shaver and Rob Stevens volunteered to attend with the Explorers.
For those interested in the Clark County Sheriff’s Office Explorer Post, information can be found by doing an internet search for: Clark County, Sheriff, WA, Explorer.
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