NEW YORK — On Friday, July 14, 10 young men and women from New York graduated from the inaugural U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York sponsored Explorers Post 601. The ceremony, which hosted the Explorers, parents, HSI New York personnel and special guests, highlighted HSI New York’s commitment to the development and well-being on today’s youth.
The graduation participants and guests filled the seats of a large conference room in the HSI New York Office. The ceremony opened with the presentation of colors by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Color Guard and the singing of the Star Spangled Banner. HSI New York Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Angel M. Melendez offered the opening remarks, and addressed Explorers, thanking them for their commitment to the program and thanking their families for allowing HSI to teach their kids. SAC Melendez also welcomed other area Explorer Posts in attendance from the New York City Police Department (NYPD), Metropolitan Transit Authority, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The guest speaker, John Varrone, director of Global Security, Morgan Stanley and a retired HSI special agent spoke to the Explorers underscoring the importance of tenacity and perseverance to overcome obstacles. He also took time to congratulate each graduate on their achievements.
HSI New York’s Law Enforcement Explorers Post 601 was established October 2016, under the by-laws of the Boys Scout of America and its Learning-for-Life program. Post 601 is now composed of 13 young men and women between the ages of 14 to 20.
On October 7, 2016, Post 601 commenced its first basic training, which consisted of 35 sessions. During these sessions, the Explorers were exposed to an overview of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) responsibilities centered on HSI’s mission. Basic training sessions included physical training and general lessons 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 also learned 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 the techniques and procedures learned during the training. More importantly, the Explorers served their community by participating in the Boy Scouts Centennial Jubilee as well as preparing Mother’s Day baskets for victims of human trafficking.
More than six HSI New York employees, mostly special agents, task force agents and contractors continue to serve as adult leaders and advisors on a volunteer basis. Their goal is to provide these young men and women with career orientation, leadership opportunities and exposure to community service amongst other developmental and life changing experiences.