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Learning about Laguna’s finest

Mary A. Castillo

Seven explorers with the Laguna Beach Police Department recently

graduated from the Orange County Law Enforcement Explorer Academy.

Four of them brought home awards in physical training, personal

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achievement and report writing.

The explorers who attended were Jordan Villwock, Tom Cahill

(physical training), Stephane Arevalo (physical training and personal

achievement), Ana Moz (physical training), Kamran Adlparvar, Marcus

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Claar and Andrew Garlock (report writing).

They were among the 125 explorers from other police agencies in

the rigorous training program that included a surprise wake-up call

at around midnight and a mock crime scene that mirrors life on the

streets.

“It’s almost the same as police academies but condensed to five

days,” said Sgt. George Ramos who coordinates the program and was

once an explorer himself in Buena Park. “They do all the same stuff

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-- the same discipline, class work and physical training -- you see

in boot camp.”

When they’re not competing, the explorers support police by riding

with officers and assisting under supervised conditions at crime

scenes, DUI check points, traffic and crowd control and medical aid

calls. Special investigators also use explorers to act as decoys by

going into liquor stores and attempting to purchase alcoholic

beverages to ensure that retailers are following the law.

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Only four months ago the program had six explorers. There area now

16 with room for more.

“They have to be in school or have a job,” Ramos explained.

All participants must be expected to keep up grades and stay out

of trouble. If an explorer is having problems maintaining the minimum

C-average standard, Ramos or his staff will help that student find a

tutor and keep him or her motivated to succeed.

Applicants must come into the station for a brief interview with

Ramos, Officer Ted Falencki, director of operations, or Officer Pat

Etemadi, director of personnel and recruitment (who was also one of

the tactical officers at the explorer academy). They also must attend

two classes and ride along with officers on three occasions in

addition to undergoing a thorough background check by officers.

After they get their badge and uniform, Ramos said, explorers

learn a lot about self-discipline, pride and that it’s a privilege to

be part of the department.

“They build a lot of camaraderie,” Ramos said of the group that

attracts young people across racial and socio-economic backgrounds.

“They have to work as a unit as officers do.”

In November the explorers will participate in a competition at

Angels Stadium where they will do crime scene investigations, vehicle

stops and respond to burglary in progress calls.

“We’re proud of them,” Ramos said. “These are kids who trying to

do well. The goal of the program is for them to succeed.”

Established in 1973, the Laguna Beach Police Explorer program is

open to young people between the ages of 14 and 21. For more

information, call Ramos or any of the explorer advisors at (949)

497-0701.


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