Mesquite Police Department Explorer Post 403 took 5th place in the "Unknown Risk Traffic Stop"category during the Law Enforcement Explorer Conference hosted by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department on Saturday, June 15th.
The team of Ricardo Robles, David Moreno, Ryan Luce, and Ramon Hernandez, competed against 36 other teams and demonstrated their skill in reacting to an unknown risk traffic stop scenario. Team members were graded on initial stop procedures, approach, verbal skills (with suspects), communication with dispatch and partners, observation skills and overall officer safety.
Explorers train one night a week at the Mesquite Police Department (MPD) learning a wide variety of police related skills. “As an Explorer they get a ‘taste’ of what policing is all about. They get to see both sides of the picture,” said Detective Celia Hoggard who has been an advisor with Post 403 since the Post was formed in 1998.
Hoggard has kept a watchful eye over the program for the past 15 years. The Detective has traveled to Reno and to Arizona with the Explorers to attend competitions, witnessed camaraderie among the rank, and has taught many life lessons. She has enjoyed watching many Explorers choose police work as a career. Her own son, a former explorer himself, now works for Mohave County Sherriff’s Office.
Hoggard will retire from the Mesquite Police Department at the end of this month and leave behind, Evidence Clerk Wendy Medina ,who has also served as a patrol officer, and Dispatcher Filibertos Ontiveros, both of whom started their MPD career as Explorers under Hoggard’s direction. Medina will miss the daily interaction with Detective Hoggard whom she credits with teaching her how to become a law enforcement professional and how to live life with integrity. Other Explorers that have graduated from the program have gone on to work at neighboring agencies. Explorers are able to remain a member of the Post up until age 21.
Anyone who has graduated from 8th grade, is over the age of 14, and maintains a C average in school is eligible to apply to the Explorer program. Explorer recruits need to exhibit dedication, respect and a commitment to the program. “This program is for kids who want to be involved, who want to learn and are who not afraid of hard work,” Hoggard said.
Hoggard herself is not afraid of hard work. After working her regular shift as a detective, Hoggard has committed nearly every Wednesday night during the school year, over the past 15 years, to providing excellent learning opportunities for the Explorers.
Hoggard did not operate the program alone; most recently she was joined by volunteer advisors Officer Craig Empey and Correction Officer Brian Haun, who will both continue on with the program. The advisors drill the recruits in training exercises such as downed officer rescue, crime scene response and active shooter training.
In addition to training, the Explorers participate in special events, parades, have opportunities to ride along with patrol officers on occasion, compete at the state and local levels, and jump in and help with various tasks as needed.
Explorer Post 403 will accept applications during the month of August. Explorer training begins the week after Labor Day and the program runs through June of each year. Applicants will undergo a mini background check, including review of school records, which are checked quarterly. Applicants can contact the Mesquite Police Department at 702-346-5262 and ask for Officer Craig Empey for more information.