The first of its kind Central Valley Police Explorer Competition set for this weekend at Sierra High School is being hosted by Manteca, Ripon, Tracy, and Modesto police departments.
Some 150 teens from departments up and down the state will take part in police academy-styled competitions Friday and Saturday with presentation of awards set for Sunday morning.
In addition to Manteca’s Explorers, others will be coming to Manteca from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Border Patrol headquartered in Riverside, Garden Grove, Escalon, Stockton, Placer County Sheriff’s Department, Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department, Livermore, Hayward, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, Sonoma Police Department, Ceres, South Lake Tahoe and Elk Grove police departments as well as the Tracy, Modesto and Ripon departments.
The series of weekend events will get underway at 8 a.m. Friday with the official ceremonies start at 9 a.m. followed by a full schedule of scenarios that will be duplicated on Saturday. The 150 Explorers will be entered in all the competitive events and score points for their proficiency.
Included will be active shooter, hostage rescue, assault, high risk traffic stops, burglary in progress, domestic violence, hostage negotiations, basic traffic stops, 51-50 individuals, building searches, and crime scene investigations.
The ages of the Explorers range from 14 to 21. Simunition rounds are being used in the scenarios with bullets much like those from paintball guns that will leave their marks. Teens will be wearing protective gear during the events to avoid possible injury.
The four hosting departments are taking care of lunch and dinner meals. Continental breakfasts are offered by the motels and hotels in the community where the students and their adult officers are spending their nights.
Modesto Police Department is in charge of dinner on Friday. Manteca will have lunch duty on Friday that is being taken care of by the Manteca Fire Department. Ripon PD is serving lunch on Saturday and Tracy Police Department is hosting dinner Saturday night.
Manteca officer Mike Kelly said the hosting departments have been holding planning meetings monthly since the program was launched a year ago. Those meetings evolved to twice monthly and then to once a week during the last month.
Kelly noted that all the officers in the program are donating their time without pay. He added that there are other Explorer competitions throughout the state with one being in Fresno and another in Los Angeles. The entire campus at Sierra High will be put in use for the various scenarios including several of the classrooms.
Kelly added that members of the public will have to be kept at a distance because of the firing of the simunitions during the program. He also said that the hosting Explorer units will be out there to have fun and won’t be eligible for any of the trophies.
In one recent competition the small Manteca Explorer unit beat out the teens from the Los Angeles Police Department. The charge for each Explorer in the competition is $75 and $25 for their advisors. They will be receiving an event T-shirt, a challenge coin from the competition and their food.