Explorer Post Heads to Arizona for National Competition

Law Enforcement Explorers from across the country will get to see how Montgomery County does policing. The Montgomery County Police Explorer Post 1986 will be traveling to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff to participate in the National Law Enforcement Exploring Conference the week of July 11 to 16. Held every other year, explorers compete in team and individual competitions, listen to seminars, watch demonstrations and see exhibits.

“Throughout the year, we teach our explorers about a career in law enforcement and the different things we do, the training that gets put into it and why it is so imperative and important,” said Gaithersburg Police Department Officer Dan Lane, post advisor. “During that timeframe, they get to participate in some classes to learn what we do and then we put them out in different scenarios where they actually get to practice what they’ve learned. With the conference, they get to compete against other posts nationwide and test their abilities.”

Explorers range in age from 14 to 20 and have an interest in pursuing a career in law enforcement in the future. Post 1986 will be represented by 12 explorers along with seven advisors competing in team competitions like bomb threat response, crime scene search and traffic accident investigation, as well as individual events including air pistol, physical fitness and bike policing.

Each post will get to see their score card to see how well they did on each event. “It puts it in perspective if they are interested in law enforcement (as a career),” Lane said. “This is what they want to do. Here’s how much you are going to have to put forth to actually complete the job.”

Nadia Jurado, 16, of Rockville’s Richard Montgomery High School, has always been interested in going into the U.S. Navy. She wanted to do a Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program but her school does not have one. Since her father is friends with Lane, he told him about the program and suggested Nadia try it.

She came to an open house and decided to sign up. Two years later, she now holds the rank of sergeant. Nadia has enjoyed learning many different skills including public speaking and leadership. “Skills that I take from here, I use them outside of explorers and it has really helped me out a lot,” she said.

This competition will mark Nadia’s first plane ride and trip to Arizona. She will be working with her post on team events and participating in a new competition called Exploring USA where she and another explorer will talk about their post. The best presentation will win. “Post 1986, we like to make our mark on things,” Nadia said. “Our post is the first one to start an international exchange program with London cadets. Our post is mostly known around our county and community (because of) all the service things that we do and whatever we do, we do it together.”

With an interest in police, mainly forensics, Olivia Denaburg, 17, of the Sandy Spring Friends School, joined two years ago. “My brother became an EMT and he was at the county fair and was interacting with the police officers that run the post and he told me about it and I thought it would be a great program,” she said. “I came to the open house, loved it and stayed. … I’ve become friends with people that I probably would have never met if it were not for the post.”

Holding the rank of corporal, she will be helping her post during team events on competing in individual events like air pistol and bike policing. Olivia is eager to see how her team will work together and where they will place. “I’m very excited to meet people from other posts from other areas and learn how their post works differently,” she said.

The post, which has gone to nationals for many years, spent many months fundraising in order to raise enough money for the trip, including hosting a silent auction/date night, bake sales, concession stand events and chocolate sales.

When picking teams for the competition, post advisors consider which explorers work the best together and how many meetings and events each attends.

Lane, who participated in nationals as an explorer 13 years ago, hopes the participants take away team-building skills from the event. “It’s an experience that a lot of people don’t get to participate in,” he said. “We are hoping they build a good relationship with other posts’ members but open their eyes to what’s out there for them.”