MONTVILLE, NJ – Montville Township Police Explorers Post 805 returned from their national competition in West Lafayette, IN July 21 with three third-place finish trophies.

The Police Explorers placed third in three simulated scenarios: crime scene investigations, emergency first aid, and traffic stop, according to Explorer Captain Alexander Benno.

“Practical scenarios are situations designed to mimic those that police officers may encounter in real life,” Benno said. “In the traffic stop scenario, for example, Explorers had to simulate how they would issue a summons to a driver that sped through a stop sign. In emergency first aid, Explorers were tested on their ability to render treatment to someone who had just been struck by a car. Explorers had to demonstrate their knowledge of bleeding control, splinting, shock treatment, and CPR. In crime scene investigation, Explorers were given a search warrant and had to react to the discovery of a dead body in the residence. Explorers had to preserve the crime scene, collect and catalog evidence such as fingerprints, and interview witnesses.”

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The Police Explorers are similar to junior police. They are sponsored by the Montville Township Police Department and advised by Patrolman Dominick Danzi and former Explorer and now Montville Police Patrolman Michael Cooney, Jr. The organization, which is targeted at students ages 14-21, meets several times a month and practices the scenarios in which they compete in at nationals, such as serving warrants, hostage negotiation, and domestic violence calls. Instructors and veteran police officers portray suspects, victims, and bystanders and create an interactive situation that the Explorers must adapt to. The actors may change or escalate the situation based on the Explorers’ decisions.

The national competitions are held every other year in a different city; this year’s competition was held on the campus of Purdue University with the support of troopers from the Indiana State Police, officers from local agencies, and agents from the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Department of Customs and Border Protection. Eight township youth traveled there to compete, according to Benno.

In addition to practicing for nationals, the Explorers help out with community programs, such as helping with safety at the 4th of July celebration, performing road cleanups, directing cars parking at events, presenting the colors at various township committee meetings, and helping out at the recycling/paper shred event.

But the national competition is a memorable and favorite activity for the youths.

“We competed against more than five thousand other Explorers from all over the country, attended seminars with other police agencies, and shared ideas with other posts,” Benno said. “Exploring is an incredible learning experience and I couldn’t be more proud of my team and our accomplishments. We’re incredibly lucky to have the support of the town and Montville Township Police Department and I’d like to thank everyone who made our trip possible.”

“The kids worked really hard for this competition and I’m so proud of them,” Danzi said. “I wasn’t easy on them and they really came through despite the pressure. It’s pretty awesome to think they placed as well as they did. It’s impressive to win in three scenarios, considering what they were up against. I’d like to thank my co-advisor, Patrolman Michael Cooney, for his help.”

The Explorers who attended the competition were: Alex Benno, Joey Cirkus, Kyle Cooney, Peter Gruca, Ethan Mersing, Mira Sapozhnikov, Anthony Schulman and Dennis Villani.

Anyone interested in joining the Montville Township Police Explorer Post 805 can stop by the Montville Township Police Department at 360 Main Road/ Route 202 and ask the desk officer for an application.

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