Monday, July 7, 2008 | 1:55 p.m.
Several teams of Metro Police Explorers -- young adults who volunteer their time with the department learning police skills before they can become sworn officers -- traveled to Oxnard, Calif., the weekend of June 20 to compete against some 400 fellow officers-in-training from five different states.
Metro's explorers, ages 16 to 20, won several divisions during the weekend competition, and their supervisors were eager to share this success with the press. Of course, we're not talking obstacle courses and bean bag relays. Here's a breakdown of the kinds of challenges Metro explorers tackled, and how they scored:
Shoot/Don't Shoot: Teams of Explorers move through a series of rooms in a mock-up of an active police pursuit. As they advance, they are presented with targets and must decide whether or not shooting is called for in the moment (real guns are NOT used, by the way). A team of explorers from Metro's South East Area Command took 3rd place in this event.
Vehicle Search: A timed event where explorers are asked to respond to a mock car stop for a violent crime. Explorers from Metro's Down Town Area Command took 1st place in this competition.
Hostage Rescue: Explorers are asked to imagine that an unknown number of hostages are being held in a building by terrorists who are not complying with negotiations. With this scenario in mind, the Explorers must practice rescuing hostages. Explorers from Metro's Down Town Area Command and North East Area Command took 2nd place in this competition.
Bus Assault: Teams of Explorers are asked to respond to a stopped school bus which has been halted for unknown reasons. A faux-caller reports to the Explorers that there is moving and screaming inside, but what's really happening inside is for Explorers to find out and control. Explorers from Metro's Down Town Area Command took 2nd place in this competition.
Search Warrant: A challenge that asks teams of Explorers to practice executing search warrants at a mock location and taking into custody any possible suspects at the scene. Explorers from North East Area Command took 1st place in this event, while Explorers from Metro's South East Area Command took 3rd place.
Building Search: When a burglar alarm goes off inside a structure of unknown size and configuration, Explorers have to enter and locate any hidden suspects and take them into custody. Explorers from North East Area Command took 2nd place in this event.
High-Risk Car Stop: Explorers pretend than a violent crime has occurred, and suspects have fled in a vehicle. In two-man police units, the Explorers see the suspect vehicle and initiate a traffic stop accordingly. Explorers from North East Area Command took 2nd place in this event.
Active Shooter: Explorers are asked to demonstrate how they would respond to a call of an active shooter at a building with an unknown number of suspects inside. Explorers from North East Area Command took 3rd place in this event