6:56 am | November 11, 2013
Two Pasadena Police Explorer trainees graduated the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s 18-week Explorer Academy class Saturday, November 9 in a Rose Bowl Colors Run that marked completion of the course.
Justine Serrano and Joshua Calderon were trained in a course operated by the Sheriffs Department, which taught the Pasadena cadets along with 150 Sheriff’s cadets.
“I did this for discipline, and so I can give back to my community,” said Serrano, who is currently enrolled in a Pasadena Unified high school.
Deputy Sergeant Kenneth Roller facilitates the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Explorer training. Roller said the explorer academy involves written and physical exams.
“The academy mimics the real academy, keeping in mind the demographics and the age of the participants,” Roller said.Â “Thereâ€™s a lot of messages throughout the run about teamwork and participation and not giving up.”
Serrano and Calderon are now accepted in Pasadena Police’s Explorer Program where they will be given uniforms and the chance to work with officers and employees of the Pasadena Police Department and may continue toward a career in law enforcement.
“If you set your mind to a goal, make sure you achieve it. Donâ€™t ever give up. Just set your mind to the goal and you will achieve it,” Serrano said.
Both Serrano and Calderon are considering careers in the law enforcement.
“Iâ€™m here because I wanted to get into law enforcement and I figured this was the first step in doing that,” said Calderon, who wanted to be a police officer since he was a kindergarten.
“I did want to be in law enforcement and over time I decided I wanted to be a police officer,” Calderon added.
Serrano, who had been a trainee for about a year, drew influence from relatives who work in the law enforcement.
“I think I would be able to go into law enforcement one day because my dad has encouraged me to become a police officer,” Serrano said.
The Explorers are under the command of Pasadena Police Corporal Glenn Thompson.
“Once they get the uniform, theyâ€™re like full phase explorers, they go right along and they do explorer competitions and stuff like that,” said Thompson, who has been the program’s adviser for the past 23 years. “After that, once they get of age, they can start applying for position within the police department.”
Pasadena Police currently has a total of 35 Explorers, Thompson said.
Roller said the Police Explorer trainees in his classes number to about 142, of which about 20 percent plan to pursue law enforcement. The majority of the trainees are more interested in military careers, Roller added.
The qualifications for a Police Explorer include being 14 to 21 years old, having a minimum “C” GPA, good physical condition, an interest in law enforcement and a willingness to serve to community of Pasadena.
Police Explorers are given the chance to go on a ride-a-long with actual police officers while they work.Â The Explorers also render volunteer services in city activities and events held at the Rose Bowl, City Hall, and Civic Center.
The meetings for the Explorer program are held twice a month, the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays at the police station from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Police explorers undergo several competitions throughout the year, including building searches, foot pursuits, driving skills, felony stops, drug raids, and drill team. Competitions are also held in sporting events such as softball, volleyball and basketball.
Roller said next Explorer Academy class will start on the first week of February. The recruitment period is on-going.
For more information on Pasadena Police Department’s Explorer Program, visit http://www.ci.pasadena.ca.us/police/explorer_program or call the Explorer Office at (626) 744-3743.