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All for the competition

Law enforcement hopefuls take part in event in Castaic

Posted: March 24, 2013 10:24 p.m.
Updated: March 24, 2013 10:24 p.m.
First place obstacle-course winner Gracen Alvarez, left, receives her award on Sunday in Castaic. First place obstacle-course winner Gracen Alvarez, left, receives her award on Sunday in Castaic.
First place obstacle-course winner Gracen Alvarez, left, receives her award on Sunday in Castaic.

More than 160 young people on their way to becoming police officers competed in a series of challenges Sunday similar to what law enforcement officers experience day to day.

Many of the competitors taking part in the 2nd Annual North County Law Enforcement Explorer Competition in Castaic did so with heart and passion, according to some of the more than 40 law enforcement “advisors” also taking part.

One young volunteer Explorer did so with heart, passion and a dislocated shoulder.

“I was doing the Army crawl and I heard a ‘pop,’” said Gracen Alvarez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in Long Beach.

Alvarez won first place in the obstacle course, during which she dislocated her shoulder.

She was one of several competing young adults who received medals of accomplishment.

Scenario Challenges

The two-day event sponsored by Palmdale, Lancaster and Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Explorer Posts, wrapped up Sunday with Alvarez and several other competing adults receiving medals of accomplishment.
The Sheriff’s Explorer Program is a volunteer partnership between young adults in our community and law enforcement. It is affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, Learning for Life program.

The explorers, between 14 and 21 years of age, receive extensive training in a police academy setting. Then, they participate in community affairs and non-hazardous law enforcement activities.
The competition this weekend attracted 16 explorer teams representing law enforcement agencies from as far away as Arizona and Nevada.

They took part in numerous tactical scenarios including a 5-kilometer run and a “mud run.”

Deputy Joe Trejo of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station served as an “advisor,” assessing those competing in both the “Active shooter” and “Prowler there now” challenges.

“Active shooter” put competitors in a simulated “school shooting” scenario, Trejo said.

“You’re the first deputy to arrive, basically,” he said, describing the challenge.

“We throw things to confuse the kids,” he said. “We had an injured student on the ground. They (competitors) encounter students shot and a campus deputy shot.

“It was very difficult but they did very well,” he said.

Medals Earned

Deputy Scott Short, one of the event coordinators, called winners to the podium to collect their medals.

Speaking about the team from LASD Lakewood, he said: “You guys are going to need a bigger desk.”

Jaylan French and John Huerta were first place winners in two events — the “high risk search warrant” challenge and “Burglary in Progress.”

“Most of the stuff we didn’t train for,” French said after the medal presentation. “It was all about adapt and overcome. But, the main thing is teamwork.

Huerta said the one thing that surprised him most Sunday was “how good we worked together.”

Short said before the event: “The support, participation and efforts of those helping us present this event will help to educate and mold the next generation of law enforcement leaders ... The Explorer program is a fantastic outreach opportunity which provides our youth with the tools they will need to succeed in life.”


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