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Explorer assists police with DUI checkpoints
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Explorer Claudia Carranza has been assisting with Manteca Police DUI checkpoints for two years. - photo by GLENN KAHL

It’s been almost two years for Sierra High grad Claudia Carranza of keeping statistics for the Manteca Police Department at their DUI check points in Manteca while other Explorers put in their hours setting up the sites on Manteca roadways with their varied support duties.

Explorer adviser Officer Mike Kelly said the 20 students in the MPD program have been a “huge asset” to the police department. Next month they will be hosting state Explorer competition in Modesto along with Tracy and Ripon units.  Kelly said a dozen different departments are sending their Explorer units from as far away as Los Angeles to Johansen High School for the three-day event from July 12 through 14.

The 20-year-old Carranza has just completed her AA degree at Las Positas College in Livermore and is four classes shy of having her added degree in Criminal Justice.  She is hoping to make a career in law enforcement.

She and her fellow cadets are scheduled to take part in tonight’s checkpoint to be held in Manteca from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. at an undisclosed location in support of the DUI team.

“I count every car that passes through the check points,” she said Thursday afternoon,  categorizing the ones that are stopped for drivers’ licenses or DUI checks of motorists in their vehicles. 

“I really want to go into police canines and finally become a detective,” she added.

Having the DUI check points within the city is a good thing, she further noted, with issues developing when they are least expected.

Carranza recalls a car with two teens being pulled over into the “pit” for a further check by officers.  The driver didn’t have a license and they ran, she recalled attempting to jump a chain link fence in front of Golden West Elementary School on North Main Street.   Officers gave chase and took them into custody, pulling one to the ground off the fence.

Sgt. Jodie Estarziau confirmed that the driver had a loaded firearm in his possession at the time of the incident.

“I think we should have check points more often rather than just before holidays because people know when to expect them. There are so many people who drink and drive,” she said. 

For those interested in knowing more about the upcoming state competition at the Modesto high school go to Central Valley Explorer Competition online for a complete list of procedural challenges the Explorers will face.   Several years ago the Manteca Explorers won out over the larger team from the Los Angeles Police Department.