Explorers gain experience

(l-r) Katly Payero, Luis Celest, Joshua Mercado and Marlon Koushall, 45th Precinct Explorers, won third place in the “Crime Scene Investigation” scenario at the 2008 Spring Competition Day at Camp Pouch, Staten Island from May 9-11. - Photo courtesy of Angie Teran

Having only 15 minutes to enter, dissect and begin to solve a crime scene before presenting conclusions to FBI agents may seem a daunting task for most, but four 45th Precinct Explorers rose to the challenge at the 2008 Spring Competition Day.

Katly Payero, Joshua Mercado, Marlon Koushall and team captain Luis Celest won third place in the “Crime Scene Investigation” scenario at the event, held at Camp Pouch, Staten Island from May 9-11.

“We were lucky enough to have good training on this particular scenario,” Celest said about the team’s tri-weekly practices. “We have to know a little about everything.”

Luckily they did.

Receiving the scenario just five minutes in advance, Celest led a photographer, sketcher and note taker into the crime scene with the intent to win.

Within their short time frame, the Explores worked in unison to observe and gather as much evidence as possible. A panel of FBI judges subsequently challenged the team to reiterate the facts, in a detailed, professional manner.

The number of evidence photos, thoroughness of sketches and quality of team direction also all contributed to their placement at the citywide competition.

“We were surprised and proud that we achieved the goal,” Celest said about the third place win.

The Explorers also participated in the “Search, Seizure and Arrest” scenario, and while they didn’t place, Celest said it was necessary practice for the team’s future successes.

“By us going through it, we now know what to focus on for next year,” he commented.

Explorers from the 49th Precinct, who have practiced with the 45th Precinct, also joined the weekend competition, and though they didn’t win, the group said they deeply appreciated the weekend’s challenges.

“So far we’re still in the learning process, we’re still trying to get the feel of the scenarios,” 49th Precinct Explorer Jacob Teran said about their relatively new and inexperienced team.

Explorer advisor Police Officer Chris Traumer said most importantly, the group was able to see what steps are necessary to grow as a unit, as they continue in the program.

“These kids are the future of the Explorer program, so you want them to get their feet wet,” he explained, adding that no matter how much work they put in, some aspects of the competition will never be easy.

“The whole thing is hard for everybody,” Teran further explained. “It’s the mental pressure that makes it difficult.”

While the 49th Explorers weren’t able to get past this stress as a whole, team member Gianna Stallone proved her individual strength, medaling in the “Obstacle Course” challenge.

Teran commented on his friend’s accomplishments saying, “To see her win, it was a good feeling and I hope it inspires us for the future.”

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