National Exploring Conference Winners
Several members of Hazelwood Police Explorers Post #9217 were interviewed by FOX 2 News anchor Andy Banker on the "FOX 2 News in the A.M." program on Sat., Aug. 28. They were recognized for bringing home the hardware [1st place trophy] from a national Olympic-style competition for police explorers.
Banker interviewed Nicholas Valenti (age 20), Matthew Nelson (age 19), and Herbert Spears (age 17) who were on the team that won 1st-place in the "Traffic Stop" competition at the 2010 National Law Enforcement Exploring Conference recently held in Atlanta, Ga. They competed against 284 other Police Explorer posts involving 2,800 young people from across the country, including Canada and Puerto Rico. Their near-perfect score of 98.4% enabled them to win the "Traffic Stop" competition and rank among the best in the nation. In addition, Banker asked P.O. Will Russ if going through the Hazelwood Police Explorers program gives them a leg-up in comparison to other recruits who go on to the Police Academy. Russ said, "Absolutely." He mentioned that he used to be a member of the Hazelwood Police Explorers and the training he went through gave him a competitive edge at the Academy. Many of the Academy instructors work closely with the Hazelwood Police Department so they're able to make the contacts and gain the knowledge they need to perform better.
"We're very proud of the fact that our Hazelwood Police Explorers rank #1 in the nation for the 'Traffic Stop' competition. They outperformed many other Explorer Posts that represented larger police departments and had access to more resources," said Police Chief Carl Wolf. "This honor is not only a direct result of the flawless execution performed by our young Explorer members, but also the hard work and dedication exhibited by our team of advisors and instructors who donated their time and training knowledge. Their tireless efforts spending nearly every Saturday this past year instructing our Explorers on traffic stop procedures and tactics made it all possible."
The adult leaders for Hazelwood Police Explorers Post #9217 include Sgt. Don Routh, Explorer Post Coordinator, ret. Lt. C. Ray White, P.O. Mike Monticelli and P.O. Will Russ. Other police officers with the Traffic Management Team who helped with the training were P.O. Tony Kristo and P.O. Norm Mars.
The National Law Enforcement Exploring Conference is conducted every other year for thousands of young people ages 14 to 21. They come together for a week of team and individual competitions, seminars, demonstrations, exhibits, recreation and fun.