The Kirkland Police Explorer Post 2804 was recognized at the Sept. 4 Kirkland City Council meeting for its first place victory at a recent competition.
They wore their uniforms and brought their hardware, which they won at the second annual Snohomish County Tactical Event Challenge from June 1-3.
“Out of the 14 tactical events against nine teams from around Western Washington, our explorer post took home four first place trophies, three second place trophies and one third place trophy,” Kirkland Police Chief Cherie Harris said at the meeting. “We also had a trophy for the top performing team overall.”
The Kirkland Police Explorer Post consists of young people ages 14-20 who are volunteers for the Kirkland Police Department. Through law enforcement mentorship and civilian partnerships, Explorers receive hands-on training and practical demonstrations during bimonthly meetings.
They receive training in defensive tactics, building searches, criminal investigations, traffic enforcement, search and seizure procedures, field interviews, report writing, firearms training, SWAT operations, crime prevention, first aid and more.
“Through this program, high school and college-age students are able to come work with our department and get a firsthand experience with law enforcement,” said lead explorer, Lt. Christian Tomisser. “We focus heavily on a hands-on curriculum that builds leadership skills and confidence in our explorers.”
All of their experience, practice and dedication paid off. The group had participated in the same competition in 2017, which was first time most Explorers had a chance to practice skills including crisis negotiation, tactical emergency medicine and the SWAT fitness challenge.
“Last year, we were a few trophies short of a first place victory, but we learned so much and were able to take those new skills and build on them to prepare for this year,” Tomisser said.
This year, they “worked hard every day and most importantly, worked as a team,” and came out victorious, Tomisser said.
Mayor Amy Walen and the rest of the council congratulated the explorers on their success, and applauded their volunteerism and service to the community. The Explorers volunteer thousands of hours each year with the city and police department.
They also go to multiple camps and competitions every year, which are designed to test their teamwork, leadership skills and tactical abilities, and give them an opportunity to explore the field of law enforcement.
The Explorers recognized included Tomisser, Sgt. James Sullivan, Sgt. Brenna Stratton, Evan Stratton, Idriss Aitmessauoud, Zach McKenna, and Olivia Aguirre. Their advisors are NORCOM dispatcher Nicole Benson and Kirkland police corrections officer Adam Lasker.
Explorers’ duties provide real-life opportunities to serve the community, ranging from crime scene operations to security detail and crowd control at community events. They receive the benefit of hours that can be applied toward a senior project or put on a resume, and more importantly, they benefit from experiences that will prepare them to become responsible and caring adults, according to Kirkland’s website.
Those interested in becoming a police explorer should email the advisors for an application to begin the process, which includes a background check and parent/guardian authorization for those under 18. For any additional information and/or an application, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.