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.
Those interested in becoming a member of the Hazelwood Police Explorers, which is affliliated with the Boys Scouts of America, must meet the following criteria: participants must be young adults between the ages of 14 and 21; if age 14, must be out of 8th grade; maintain a “C” grade point average in school or above; and pass a background criminal/juvenile delinquency check. There are 20 members in the Post. They meet on the first and third Wednesday of every month at the Hazelwood Police Station, starting at 6:45 p.m. The Explorers have already begun their training for the 2012 event in Fort Collins, Colo. For more information on membership, contact P.O. Mike Monticelli at (314) 838-5000.