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March 11, 2014San Juan, PR, United StatesOperational

25 explorers graduate from first HSI-sponsored Law Enforcement Exploring post in nation

25 youth graduate from first HSI-sponsored Law Enforcement Exploring post in nation

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A group of 25 young men and women graduated and received their Exploring law enforcement badges Saturday at the Tapia Theater in Old San Juan. This is the first cohort in the nation to graduate from a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)-sponsored Exploring post.

Explorers, their instructors and mentors, parents, HSI San Juan personnel and dignitaries attended a graduation ceremony at the historic Tapia Theater in San Juan March 8. The event marked another landmark achievement that substantiates HSI San Juan's commitment to partner with all segments of society for the professional growth and safety our children.

HSI San Juan Special Agent in Charge Angel M. Melendez emceed Saturday's ceremony and introduced Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz of San Juan, and HSI Assistant Director for Programs Traci Lembke, the keynote speaker for the event. Melendez, Cruz and Lembke commended the Explorers for completing the physically and academically challenging course and delivered remarks of encouragement and congratulations to the new explorers.

HSI San Juan's Law Enforcement Exploring Post 800 was established Sept. 11, 2013, under the statutes of the Boy Scouts of America and its Learning-for-Life program. Post 800 is composed of 25 young men and women ages 13 to 21, enrolled in an academic institution.

More than 20 HSI San Juan employees, mostly special agents, task force agents and contractors, served as adult leaders or advisors on a volunteer basis. This is the first HSI-sponsored Law Enforcement Exploring post in the nation. Its goal is to provide career orientation experiences, leadership opportunities and exposure to community service.

On Oct. 5, 2013, Post 800 commenced basic training, which consisted of approximately 16 sessions. During these sessions, the Explorers were exposed to an overview of Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) responsibilities centered on HSI's mission. Basic training sessions included physical training and general presentations on integrity, DHS history and components, human exploitation and immigration enforcement, child exploitation, financial investigations, illicit trade enforcement, HSI communications, surveillance operations and seaport and airport investigations, among others.

The Explorers trained in arrest techniques, self-defense tactics and handling and use of firearms. As part of this training, the Explorers conducted a simulated investigation in which they employed several of the techniques and procedures they learned during the training. The Explorers were also be exposed to the U.S. justice system where they learned about the U.S. Attorney's Office and concluded their mock investigation in a trial coordinated through U.S. magistrate judges.

The graduates of the first HSI-sponsored Law Exploring Post in the nation are:

  • Angela Lopez
  • Yunielis Clemente
  • Carlos Pizarro
  • Nishmarie Mercado
  • Kevin Aulet
  • Andres Giusti
  • Ninoshka Pizarro
  • David Colon
  • Omar Lugo
  • Shalyver Monagas
  • Elvis Rivera
  • Carolyn Fontañez
  • Manuel Melendez
  • Jean Lausell
  • Nicole Montoya
  • Josue Cruz
  • Jean Vargas
  • William Lopez
  • Yamiluis Colon
  • Roberto Ramirez
  • Alanys Infante
  • Alejandra Jimenez
  • Anthony Rodriguez
  • Patricia Palomino
  • Jose Negron

The Explorers will now prepare for their participation in the 2014 National Law Enforcement Explorer Conference (NLEEC) to be held in July at Indiana University. Among other events, the NLEEC includes team competitions on arrest and search, bomb threat response, crime scene search, crime prevention, domestic crisis intervention, judgment pistol shooting (Shoot, don't Shoot), crisis negotiation, burglary in progress, traffic accident investigation, traffic stop, white collar crime, emergency field first aid and drill team as well as individual competitions on police physical performance test, air pistol competition, bike policing competition and a non-emergency vehicle operations course (NEVO).