"Of course, knowledge is the base of any new skill," Smithberg said in an email. "But Exploring is so much more than that. We would learn about domestic violence laws, proper officer response, officer safety concerns, what was needed for an arrest, and what other remedies were available.
"We learned how to handcuff and search, speak on the radio, and even do reports. But most importantly, after classroom lectures, videos, PowerPoints, and even demonstrations, we finally got to put it all into use."
Smithberg said through live role-playing scenarios, and with Explorers playing police officers and the officers leading the program playing victims, Explorers answered the call dispatch on the radio and responded to the "scene."
"We had to separate parties, interview them, be wary of safety issues, run information over the radio, determine probable cause and decide to make an arrest," Smithberg said in an email.
"Then [we had to] gain physical control, properly apply actual handcuffs, and search arrestees for training weapons and training contraband. Finally we would write a report on the call."
Smithberg said she loved the "adrenaline dumps" and having to "think and talk on my feet to solve problems." Writing reports was her least favorite. Overall, Smithberg feels she learned valuable skills.
"Public speaking, negotiating stressful arguments, active listening, confident decision making, situational awareness, and writing skills are just a few that are beneficial in any career," Smithberg said in an email.
(Above, from left: Christopher Ibarra, officer and former Explorer Andres Prado, Dawndria Mercado, Micheal Campobasso, Cynthia Rivera, Kaitlyn Stevens and Sgt. Andrew Jose'are pictured at the 2017 Santas Cops.