February 24, 2010 > Union City Explorers take center stage
Union City Explorers take center stage
By Meenu Gupta
Photos By Meenu Gupta
Union City Police Explorers were honored for their efforts and accomplishments over the past year at the Post's third annual family night and award ceremony. The Friday night celebration, February 12, centered around participants in the Boy Scouts of America "Learning for Life Police Exploring". "Since our program emphasizes municipal law enforcement, we call our scouts 'Police Explorers,'" said Union City Police Corporal, Steve Mendez. Mendez is also the Senior Advisor for Union City Police Department Explorer Post.
Explorers attend weekly meetings and receive training in various law enforcement subjects. Each Explorer rides with a Union City police officer once a month. Some attend a one-week Explorer Academy. These volunteers assist police officers with controlling traffic at parades and other special events, perform various administrative duties for the Traffic Section, Patrol Section, Investigations Sections, Personnel and Training Section, Community Oriented Policing Unit, Records and Communications.
Explorer staff consists of one captain, one lieutenant, and several sergeants. Under the able guidance of Explorer advisors, Corporal Steve Mendez, Officer Ryan Seto and Officer Jon Persinger, Police Explorers develop invaluable relationships with police personnel, some of whom they may work with in the future.
Explorer Family Night Promotion Ceremony, held at Ralph and Mary Ruggieri Senior Center, showcased the achievements of the Explorer post for the past calendar year. "By putting together a short movie, we give the parents an opportunity to see, firsthand, the training, events, competitions, and community service their children have participated in," said Mendez who added, "When we have a crime scene and need Explorers to assist us, we text them."
Promotions of Explorers who have been exemplary in their duty were announced. This year six Explorers were promoted. Chief Greg Stewart handed out the promotions to Explorers Captain Daniel Rivas, Lieutenant Alma Aguilera, Sergeant Hannia A. Contreras, Sergeant Marcos A. Hernandez, Sergeant Yesenia Gonzalez-Garcia and Corporal Jalal A. Noor. Thanking the volunteers for their efforts he said, "You serve the city willingly." He also thanked their parents stating, "They all deserve thanks and recognition, for it is the parents who instill the values in their children."
Among honors bestowed upon the police explorers, "Explorer of the year" stood above the rest. Daniel Rivas and Marcos Hernandez were awarded with the Officer Joe Leon Memorial Community Service Award. "This award was developed by the Explorer Post Advisors to honor the individual who has provided the most community service hours and has done the most to make a positive impact in our community," Mendez told TCV.
"Explorers who have 'Aged Out,' turned 21 can no longer be in the Union City Police Explorers due to age restrictions," said Mendez. Ian McCoy has Aged Out after five and a half years with Police Explorers; his future plans include serving as an Explorer Advisor. Mendez also thanked UCPD Command Staff Chief Greg Stewart, Capt. Brian Foley, Capt. Kevin Finnerty, Lt. Kelly Musgrove, Lt. Ben Horner and Lt. Gloria Lopez-Vaughn.
In order to join the program, an applicant must be at least 14 years old; have an interest in law enforcement; have no criminal history and maintain a 2.0 grade point average in school. The Explorer Post fluctuates between 10 and 25 Police Explorers. Many have gone on to careers in law enforcement. Currently, fifteen former Explorers hold positions with the Union City Police Department.
Anyone interested in joining the post can obtain an application in the lobby of the Union City Police Department, contact an Explorer Advisor at (510) 471-1365 or visit www.unioncity.org and click UCPD Explorers under Police Department.