Charles County Sheriff's Office Explorers Take Top Honors at National Conference

The Charles County Sheriff’s Office Explorers Post 1658 brought home top honors at the National Explorers Conference in July, making it the team to receive the most awards over the past six years.

Eleven Charles County Sheriff’s Office Explorers attended the biennial Explorers conference, held this year at the University of North Arizona in Flagstaff, Ariz. The event brought together more than 4000 Explorers from throughout the country to compete as teams and individuals in law enforcement categories including emergency response calls, emergency vehicle operations, best dressed uniforms, a drill competition, a physical agility test and a 9mm pistol competition. Charles County earned first place in the uniform competition and were in the top ten percent for their response to a domestic assault call and crisis intervention. Additionally, Explorers John Martin and Joey Hughes placed 7th and 17th, respectively, in the individual 9mm pistol competition. No other Explorers Post earned two Top 20 shooting awards.

“The kids had been training since October and attended one meeting a week and those that competed in the pistol competition had additional practice. This is all in addition to their usual community service projects,” said Cpl. Jason Stoddard, an advisor who accompanied the Explorers with fellow advisor Lisa Messenger, the Sheriff’s Office’s Red Light Camera Technician. “I am really proud of all their hard work and to see it recognized at the conference.”

The Explorers had to be proficient in a number categories for the emergency response call team events including narcotics investigations, first aid, bomb threats, traffic stops, burglaries in progress, arrest and search and many more. A computer-generated lottery determines which events the teams will compete in moments before they must respond. This simulates the way police officers receive calls for service; they never know what they will be called to respond to. The Explorers also shot 6,000 rounds of ammunition in preparation for the conference.

The Best Dressed Uniforms National Championship, top 10 percent emergency response and pistol competition awards bring to 13 the number of awards the Post has earned during the last three conferences over the past six years. No Post has won more national awards in that time frame.

The Explorers who competed in the conference include Reginald Forbes, Jonathan Pirrone, Daniel Thurman, Joseph Hughes, John Martin, Andrew Miller, Paul Trae Morgan Jr., Jake Campbell, Abigail Warden, Stephen Harris and Maurice Robinson.

“I am very proud of all our Explorers for their accomplishments at the conference and for all the contributions they make to the Sheriff’s Office and our community year round,” said Charles County Sheriff Frederick E. Davis. “Many of these kids go on to become the police and correctional officers who protect our community and it is evident they are learning valuable lessons that help them achieve that goal.”

Three past Explorers who participated in National Conference Events were cadets and are now police officers. One Explorer was a correctional officer and is now a police officer, three are correctional officers, three are cadets and one served as a cadet before moving out of state. Another will begin duties as a cadet in September while three others are in the hiring process — two for correctional officer and one for cadet.

Explorers Post 1658 was created in 1986 and currently includes more than 70 Explorers. Exploring is a division of Learning for Life, which is a subsidiary of Boy Scouts, and gives young people between the ages of 14 and 20 who are interested in law enforcement the opportunity to learn about police work and acquire skills used by police officers. The Explorers participated in the 2002 conference, where Explorer Matt Irby, who is now a correctional officer for the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, became the first person from Post 1658 to win a national championship when he competed in the pistol event. During that conference, the team brought home two Top 10 Percent in the Nation Awards, one in traffic stops and the other in the arrest and search event. In 2004, the Post earned a national championship in their arrest and search response, second place in the best dressed uniforms category, third place in a bomb threat investigation and Top Ten Percent in the Nation for their burglary in progress response. Additionally, Explorer Matt Thompson, who is now a Sheriff’s officer, placed third in the individual 9mm rapid fire competition.

The Charles County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the more than 140 sponsors who donated the $26,000 that enabled the Explorers to attend the conference.

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