By Nicole MOORE
On Jan. 9, the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station held a recruitment meeting for the Los Angeles County Deputy Explorer Program. The program is aimed at youths aged 14 to 20 who hold a minimum of a 2.0 GPA and wish to eventually pursue a career in law enforcement or military. The Explorer Program is partnered with the Boy Scouts of America.
The volunteer Explorer leaders for La Crescenta are Sergeant Jose Larios, Deputy Jeff Martin, and Steven Cronkhite, a former member of the Explorer program. Currently the La Crescenta branch of the LASD Explorer program only has one member as the other nine members have joined the military or are in deputy training. The remaining member of the program, Grigor Kasabyan, is currently working for Glendale Community College’s campus security, and has been a part of the program for the past six years.
“I love [this program]. I started at 14 when I was very young. Going through it was a maturing process and helped shape me into a much better person,” said Kasabyan.
Two Explorer sessions are held every year with the first beginning in January and ending in June and the second beginning in July and ending in December. The sessions are 18 weeks long with training held every Saturday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita. During training Explorers are taught law enforcement skills, including how to handle foot pursuits and the nuance of crisis negotiation. Along with training for law enforcement, the program helps Explorers with professional skills such as acing job interviews and polishing up resumes.
“I have nothing but good things to say about this program. This is one of the better programs if you want to get into law enforcement,” said Cronkhite who is a civilian advisor for the LASD Explorer Program. “Though the program is rigorous, it is excellent for college and job applications and enhances a sense of responsibility.”
Additionally, the Explorers participate in an annual competition held in Chandler, Arizona. More than 75 Explorer teams nationwide come out for the competition, which is judged by a panel of law enforcement members. The Explorer teams’ scores are based on the execution of their verbal tactics and mock force performed as a team during a given hypothetical scenario.
“You get what you put into it,” said Cronkhite. “I was helping save lives and rappelling out of a helicopter before I graduated from high school. They want to bring out your full potential. There is a lot of physical exertion and it will take you out of your comfort zone. They want you to be able to function under stress and to see how are you going to handle stress out in the field.”
Additional to the Saturday classes the Explorers have a bi-monthly meeting at the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station every second and fourth Monday.
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