OCEANSIDE — The Oceanside Explorers team did a crackerjack job during regional competition, which challenged teams in law enforcement response scenarios, target shooting and a mile-long obstacle course.
Dominic La Porta, William Jester, Brannon Adkins, and Jordan Laser represented Oceanside during competition held at the 63-acre Escondido Police Department shooting range June 26 and June 27.
The Oceanside team excelled in the vehicle felony stop scenario in which teams were graded on how they enacted procedures, utilized team members, and kept the situation safe.
“They were given a perfect score and first place,” Lt. Leonard Cosby said.
Scenarios also asked Explorers teams to respond to a police officer ambush, bus assault, and domestic violence incident.
Shooting competition tested Explorers mastery of 40-caliber handguns, shotguns, and semi-automatic riffles. Timed drills asked team members to shoot targets at varying distances, up to 100 yards out.
There was also a mile-long team obstacle course to master. Oceanside teamed with Escondido in the competition, which included the challenges of passing water buckets over a six-foot tall fence, bandaging an arm en route, and tire flipping.
There was the added challenge of teammates being blindfolded it they made a mistake along the course.
This called for fellow teammates to assist them with the remainder of the challenge.
“This event required excellent teamwork from all of the participants,” Cosby said.
The Oceanside Explorers team took third place overall in the two-day competition in which 13 Explorers teams from eight Southern California police agencies participated.
Oceanside also received the Honor Award for most commitment.
“The kids are really sparkplugs,” Cosby said. “Sgt. Garcia of the Escondido Police Department said he was really pleased with the attitude of the kids.”
The Oceanside Explorers program is run through the Police Department that teams up with an accredited school to instruct 15 to 20 year olds in law enforcement skills.
Explorers meet monthly, and volunteer year round to serve the community.
Opportunities range from police ride-alongs, to event crowd control, and field evidence technician training.
“We’re engage with young people all the time, this hits closer to home for us,” Cosby said. “We see it as an investment in the life of a young person.”
The program gives Explorers an understanding of police operations, and allows them to reap the rewards of serving the community.
During July 4, crowd control operations Explorers helped transport police officers to their patrol sites.
“If it wasn’t for Explorers, officers or someone else would be doing it for us,” Cosby said. “It freed up a lot of hands.”
Many Explorers go on to work in law enforcement.