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Councilman Larry Roth took time at the April 18 Special Presentations to recognize and celebrate the Homestead Police Explorers, who won first place overall out of 22 teams and 200 individuals competing in the Southeast Regional Police Explorer Competition in March. The Council Chambers were filled with excitement as the young champions proudly carried their trophies to the front of the room.
Councilman Roth opened his presentation by saying, “We go from the Mayor’s Youth Council to the Homestead Police Explorers. It just goes to show you that we have so much young talent in our community. They strive to do excellent things.”The Homestead Police Explorers is a law-enforcement-based community service program that falls under the City of Homestead Police Department. Its purpose is to connect officers and youth who have an interest in pursuing a career in law enforcement. After joining, each Explorer must complete the Basic Law Enforcement Explorer Academy where they learn about law enforcement and exercise, and participate in team-building activities.
The Homestead Police Explorers, along with their advisors, Officer Shanell Wadley, Officer Robbie Tate, and Advisor Alisha Wiggins, attended the annual competition to showcase their law enforcement skills in various scenarios.
Homestead Police Chief Alexander E. Rolle, Jr. noted, “What the Police Explorers are doing here today is not [going] unnoticed, because we’ve brought in 20 Explorers [over the years] and given them jobs.” As an example, he pointed across the room at Lieutenant Barker, someone who had been an Explorer at one time and is now a detective in a leadership role and an 18-year-veteran of the Homestead Police Department.
“As a Department, we’re so proud of these young people and their advisors for the hard work they put in,” he said.
One Explorer said, “I’ve been a part of the Police explorers for four years and I’ve gone to competition for three years. Every year, the City of Miami North and the City of Miami South always took the gold. As soon as Officer Wadley stepped in, I said, ‘Our team is going to look exactly like that.’” He attributed their success to their teamwork and communication skills.
Thanking Chief Rolle, the Command Staff and “everybody who made it possible,” Wadley joined in recognizing the group’s achievement, saying “I told them to trust the process and don’t ever give up. [To] believe in [themselves] and go in as a team.”
“This just shows if you put hard work into something, you will be successful,” Councilman Roth said.
He concluded by acknowledging the important role of their advisors in the Homestead Police Explorers’ success as well as the Homestead Police Department as a whole.
He said, “Leadership is by example and that’s what the kids learn by — the example you and the other officers — all the way from the Chief, Colonel and Command Staff. The examples you guys set for not only the Explorers but for the police officers who patrol our streets. That’s what it’s all about.”
With great enthusiasm, Councilman Roth then announced the awards won by the group members. Later, Captain Raymond DeJohn presented each champion with a certificate celebrating their achievements.
Team Awards: First place, Domestic Violence Scenario - Chris Leon, Alize Menendez, Nicole Pontrelli and Issac Rivera
First Place, Crime Scene Processing Scenario - Nicole Pontrelli, Eriz Bonilla, Chris Leon and Alize Menendez
First Place, Crisis Intervention Scenario - Shariff Ali, Alize Menendez, Nicole Pontrelli and Issac Rivera
Fifth Place, Search and Arrest Scenario - Nicole Pontrelli, Issac Rivera, Shariff Ali and Eriz Bonilla
Third Place - “Explorers Got Talent” - ALL
Nicole Pontrelli placed second among all females in the physical agility obstacle course
Alize Menendez placed third among all females in the bicycle course
Chris Rodriguez placed third among all males in the bicycle course
For more information on the Homestead Police Explorers, go to www.cityofhomestead.com/explorers.