SHELTON, Wash. - Police officers and Deputy Sheriffs from all over the state joined forces last week with Washington teenagers for a week long intensive police explorer academy. It's a way for these young adults to learn what it might be like to have a career in law enforcement, and eight of Mason County’s finest teenagers were among them.
This year’s Washington State Law Enforcement Explorer Academy for young adults ages 15 to 20 was held at Tahoma Jr. High School in Maple Valley. More than 150 cadets hit the ground running a week ago Monday to experience some of the same training that police officers in the state are required to go through.
Mason County Sheriff’s Office Detective Danielle Rickards was the Tactical Training Officer for the Mason County Public Safety Explorers and helped train them in many classes including, but not limited to Firearms & Marksmanship, Drill & Ceremony, Physical Fitness, Handcuffing Techniques, Leadership Skills, Accident Scene Procedures, Bomb Threat Response, Proper Equipment Usage, Law Enforcement Protocols and Criminal Law.
During last week’s academy, Mason County Sheriff Casey Salisbury and Chief Criminal Deputy Ryan Spurling made a personal visit to the academy and observed the training as well as speaking with each of our Mason County Explorers.
There are different levels of cadet training, beginning with Basic Explorers to the more Advanced Explorer cadets, who return year to year. This summer’s Law Enforcement Explorer Academy ended on August 17th.
Mason County has a unique explorer program because it is a multi-discipline public safety program where the explorers have the opportunity to learn Law Enforcement, Fire Fighting and Emergency Medical Services. That is why they are a Public Safety Explorer Post.
The Mason County Public Safety Explorer Post advisors include Mason County Fire District #4 Fire Chief Bob Burbridge, Mason County Fire District #4 Assistant Fire Chief Greg Seals, MACECOM Dispatch Director Mike Evans, Mason County Sheriff’s Office Detective Danielle Rickards, Mason County Deputy Sheriff Tim Ripp, Mason County Deputy Sheriff Justin Cotte, Shelton Police Sergeant Mike Fiola and Squaxin Island Tribal Police Officer Tracy Bogart.
Included with this news release is a photo of our graduating Mason County Public Safety Explorers standing between Mason County Sheriff’s Office Chief Criminal Deputy Russ Osterhout on the left and Detective Danielle Rickards on the right.
The Mason County Public Safety Explorers are as follows: Front Row, left to right: Ethan Evans, Emily Frost, Zahra Vivero, Chris Frost, Veronica Esterly Back Row, left to right: James France, Austin Sillars, Patrick Belliele