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North Las Vegas Police Explorers take second in ExCon category

Isaac Caldera of North Las Vegas was celebrating his 15th birthday when he learned about the Police Explorers program at the North Las Vegas Police Department. The aspiring dispatcher joined a week later and has been at it since, he said.

“It boosted my self-esteem — taught me not only law enforcement procedures but also leadership, responsibility, integrity, how to communicate with people,” said Caldera, 18, a Delta Academy graduate. “You need to know how to do that and engage with the community.”

Police Explorers prepares teens and young adults for careers in law enforcement. The North Las Vegas Police Department’s team meets from 5-8 p.m. Wednesdays at the South Area Command beside City Hall, according to officer Caitlyn Ebert, the adviser and coordinator of the department’s Explorers program.

Teams from across the country took part June 8-9 in ExCon, an annual reality-based training competition hosted by the Metropolitan Police Department’s Explorers program. It was held at Sunrise Mountain High School.

“It gives them a head start,” Ebert said. “By the time they’re ready to go to (a police) academy, they’re already many steps ahead of people who don’t have any prior experience. I really like it because not everyone wants to be a police officer. This can prepare them for any type of law enforcement-related career.”

About 50 teams competed in Las Vegas. The North Las Vegas team won second place in a category that involved assisting an officer, Caldera said.

“We practiced the least in that category,” said 20-year-old Glenford Arnold of North Las Vegas. “What really separated us was communication. It was a five-man element and we had to act quick — within 30 seconds of getting on the scene. We trained about once or twice each month.”

The North Las Vegas team has about 25 participants ages 15-21. Arnold said it has helped shape his life.

“Me and my family come from literally nothing,” Arnold said. “Coming here and helping my family helps me. This program helped me become a better officer … see what my options are.”

Arnold is studying criminal justice at the College of Southern Nevada. He plans to begin the process of becoming a police officer within the next year.

“If someone wants to just build on their leadership skills, communication skills, or just be a good citizen, they should consider this program,” Caldera said. “It’s all about responsibility, discipline.”

Contact Mia Sims at msims@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0298. Follow @miasims___ on Twitter.

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