With an earnest desire to “protect and serve,” dozens of high school and college-age students devote themselves to serving the community, donating countless hours to learning the ropes and training with members of Blaine police department and providing security for city events as they participate in the Blaine Police Explorers program.
Explorers are trained by department advisors in police techniques, crime prevention, and first aid. Those skills are put to use as Explorers go on ride-alongs with patrol officers, provide traffic control and additional security for city events.
“The program gives teens an idea of what’s involved with law enforcement,” said Explorer Lt. Nick Traffie, a 2012 graduate of Blaine High School now studying law enforcement at Century College.
Blaine Police Explorers (chartered in the early 1990s) work an average of 300 events each year, including Aviation Days at the Anoka County Airport in Blaine, the 3M Champions Championship golf tournament at the TPC of Blaine, the Blaine Triathlon, and Blaine Festival (formerly known as Blaine’s Blazin’ 4th).
Explorers also use their developing law enforcement skills in state and national competitions. In fact, 30 of the Blaine Police Explorers recently competed in the 2014 State Conference in Rochester, Minnesota and took home 11 awards.
“Once again, our Explorers made us proud,” said lead advisor Blaine Police Sgt. Brian Owens, listing seven team awards and four individual awards won in the April 24-27 conference competition.
Each event simulates a dispatch to a call and competitors have just 30 minutes to prepare.
• 1st place, First Aid
• 2nd place, Crime Prevention
• 2nd place, Use of Force
• 3rd place, Shooting Team (Tanner Ess, Ben Eckberg, Jennah Justen, and Nick Traffie)
• 3rd place, Traffic Stop
• 5th place, Bomb Scene
• 5th place, Domestic Crisis
• 1st place, Bike Course (Charlie Wagner)
• 1st place, Slow Fire (Ben Eckberg)
• 1st place, 5K Run (Samantha Klimisch)
• 3rd place, 2 Mile Run (Adrian Johnson)
Next up, three teams of Blaine Police Explorers (with three or four members on each team) will compete in the national Explorer competition, July 14-19 in Bloomington, Indiana.
But more than just winning awards in competition against other Police Explorer posts from around the state and country, Blaine Police Explorers learn valuable life lessons.
“Being an Explorer is so valuable. It really builds confidence, teaches you what it means to serve the community. And it’s not just about learning law enforcement, it’s about gaining a deeper understanding of what it means to ‘protect and serve,’” said Explorer Lt. Tanner Ess, a 2012 graduate of Blaine High School now studying psychology and philosophy at Bethel University.
To learn more about Blaine Police Explorers (a non-profit organization chartered in the early 1990s), visit BlainePoliceExplorers.weebly.com.
Sue Austreng is at [email protected]