Exploring the possibilities of law enforcement training

Rio Rancho High School senior Giuliano Parra is an explorer in Rio Rancho Police Department’s Explorers Post 911. Among his duties was to work crowd control at the Cleveland High School Stormcoming game on Friday, Sept. 13.
(Amy Byres/ Rio Rancho Observer)

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Young adults can explore a career in law enforcement through Rio Rancho Police Department’s Explorers Post 911.

Explorers practice training scenarios, help set up DWI checkpoints and attend community events with officers. The Explorers program is affiliated with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, and RRPD’S Lt. Ray Alderete oversees it.

“They are part of the family, and they serve a function as well. It’s kind of a mentorship program for us and them,” Alderete said.

There are a few requirements to apply to be a part of the Explorers post:

• Must be between 14 and 20 years old.

• Must have no felony or misdemeanor convictions.

• Must maintain a 2.0 GPA with no F’s.

• Must be able to volunteer a minimum of six hours per month.

Participants learn RRPD procedures and gain hands-on experience.

School resource officer Chris Beck is the Explorers program coordinator. Beck said he focuses on students gaining discipline, leadership skills and personal growth.

“They learn how to wear the uniform,” he said.

Former Explorer Abby Sanchez, 21, learned how to wear a different uniform when she aged out of the Explorers program. She utilized what she learned to became an Albuquerque Police service aide.

“The department has helped me in so many different ways that I am so thankful for, and they have helped me to find out what path I want to take, regardless of what department I am in. I’ll always remember where I started,” she said.

Training scenarios keep it fun and interesting for students, Beck said. Students will help officers with their own training.

“They have assisted with canine training, the hide-and-seek stuff, so it is very fun and exciting for them until the dog finds them,” he said.

Officer Daniel Fleming of the Rio Rancho Police Department portrays a suspect during canine training. He also allowed RRPD’s Explorers Post 911 to assist with the training.
(Courtesy photo)

These teachings in RRPD Explorers Post 911 are part of Rio Rancho High School senior Giuliano Parra’s character.

“I feel like it makes me more of a responsible person. It makes me think about what could happen and the consequences of your actions, and they teach us to be aware of everything, so now I am more aware,” he said.

Parra has wanted to be officer since he was 6 years old. His brother is also part of the program.

“They are the future: the future of our community, the future of law enforcement, the future of a career in medicine — it could be firefighting,” Alderete said. “So being able to mentor them and kind of show them a good path to go down, I think helps everybody in the long run.”

To apply to be part of RRPD’s Explorers post, email Beck at cbeck@rrnm.gov.

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