Five Manteca area teens – all Manteca Police Explorers – brought home four trophies from the Oxnard Explorer competition in Southern California.
Competing with the best from the Los Angeles Police Department to Modesto, Honolulu and Las Vegas and Sonoma, the Manteca team took more trophies than any other department. The Los Angeles Police Department had a total 100 Explorers at the competition. Las Vegas Metro Police Department had 75.
Their team was literally the smallest with only five members traveling to Oxnard with their advisor Manteca officer Mike Kelly and records clerk Marisa Fernandez. Kelly was once himself an Explorer with the Manteca P.D.
The team was made up of Kirsten McClure, Jose Rivera, Joshua Luis, Emmanuel Ortiz and Travis Tompkins.
The Manteca teens took second place in the active shooter exchange simulation where they traded gunfire with a suspect hiding in a school building. The Explorers used actual semi-automatic hand guns with “simunitions” for the rounds in their weapons.
In the scenario, the suspect had been shooting at citizens, having become distraught over the loss of a girl friend. They had to go into the building and find the suspect and stop the shooting without being hurt themselves.
They also received a second place trophy in the high-risk traffic stop scenario where two police cars, driven by the Manteca “officers,” pursued armed robbery suspects. After the stop they ordered the two occupants to exit the vehicle and walk backwards toward them with their arms in the air – having them drop to their knees before being handcuffed.
Advisor, Manteca officer Mike Kelly said the Explorers had been trained to the exact procedures that Manteca patrolmen use on the streets. As the advisor to the group, Kelly serves on his own time. He is not reimbursed by the city – saying he feels like he is giving back.
The cadets took a third pace in the vehicle search of a car used by suspected armed robbers who had fled in their Ford Escort. They found two hand guns, bolt cutters, masks and even a citation that bore the name of one of the suspects.
Their other third place award came from a team effort in a tug of war. The event was designed to demonstrate the importance of working together. Travis Tompkins said it was all about team work, noting they had conquered the Modesto Explorers.
The tug of war was in the sand and each five-man team had to have at least one girl. “If one person lets go, everyone goes forward,” Tompkins said. He added that it wasn’t the girl on their team who let go, either.