Event gives teens a taste of law enforcement careers
By Janice Gregorson
Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN
Teens from around Minnesota who are interested in careers in law enforcement will be in Rochester this weekend learning and competing in a host of events, ranging from pistol shooting to crime scene searches.
The 34th annual Minnesota Law Enforcement Explorer Association conference begins Thursday night and wraps up Sunday. Most of the events will be at Mayo Civic Center, but at least one downtown street will be blocked off for traffic accident investigation competitions.
There are 56 law enforcement Explorer posts statewide, and local officials expect some 700 teenagers and 200 to 300 law enforcement advisers will be in town for the event. Some 70 law enforcement agencies from around the state will be represented.
Opening ceremonies will be Thursday evening, according to Rochester police Sgt. Ryan Manguson, a charter member of and adviser to local Explorer Post No. 12. The Rochester post was formed in April 1995. The No. 12 is significant because it was the badge number of Rochester police officer Floyd Haley, who was killed in 1967 when he interrupted a burglary.
Explorers is a co-ed branch of the Boy Scouts of America and gives members, ages 15 to 20, a chance to explore careers.
Competitive conference events include a pistol shoot, an air pistol competition and a fitness run. Teams may compete in practical exercises in arrest and search, bomb scene search, burglary response, crime prevention, crime scene search, domestic crisis response, hostage negotiations, emergency first aid and traffic accident investigation.
First Street Southeast between First Avenue and Third Avenue, just west of the civic center, will be blocked off for the traffic stop and accident investigation competitions, according to Marcus Bruning, chief deputy of the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department.
Academic sessions will run throughout the day Friday and Saturday.
On Saturday, there will be a safety fair throughout the day at the civic center, including demonstrations by the local K-9 unit and the Emergency Response Unit. Helicopters from Mayo One and the state patrol will be at the fair, along with the local incident command vehicle and equipment from the Rochester Fire Department. All vehicles will be in the circle area in front of the civic center.
Manguson said a career fair will be held in conjunction with the safety fair, with representatives from law enforcement agencies and colleges available to talk to the teens.
The conference banquet is Saturday night. Rochester Police Chief Roger Peterson will speak.
The conference is sponsored by the Minnesota Chiefs Association and the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association.