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EXPLORER REBECCA N. LONG SELECTED FOR 2016 HAPCOA SCHOLARSHIP AWARD FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT EXPLORERS

Explorer Rebecca N. Long was selected for the 2016 Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA) Scholarship Award for Law Enforcement Explorers.  Explorer Long is a member of Post 2906 sponsored by the Phoenix (AZ) Police Department.  Explorer Long has been a Law Enforcement Explorer for two years and is a 2015 graduate of Sandra Day O’Conner High School where she was a member of the National Honor Society, served as Team Captain for the Track and Field Team as well as Badminton Team, and was involved with other extracurricular activities.  She currently attends Grand Canyon University where she maintains a 3.5 GPA and is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.  Explorer Long serves as the Captain of her Post and was honored as the 2015 Explorer of the Year.  Explorer Long is a second-degree black belt in Karate and, in addition to her participation in Law Enforcement Exploring and numerous school activities, she volunteers to teach special needs children karate and various types of exercise. She also volunteers with the One Step Beyond Program to teach special needs adults life skills and karate.   Explorer Long has attained several other significant achievements and has been the recipient of many other recognitions and awards. Upon completing college, Explorer Long will pursue a career in law enforcement.

HAPCOA, established in 1973, is the oldest and largest association in the U.S. of Hispanic American command officers from law enforcement and criminal justice agencies at the municipal, county, state and federal levels. Through HAPCOA, chiefs of police, sheriffs and police superintendents from around the country are committed to meeting the challenges of selecting, promoting and retaining Hispanic American men and women in law enforcement positions within the criminal justice system. HAPCOA members work diligently to address the concerns of their respective communities and improve community relations through the implementation of innovative, state-of-the-art training and educational programs.

The HAPCOA Scholarship Award for Law Enforcement Explorers was established to recognize Law Enforcement Explorers of Hispanic ancestry who have shown potential to become future leaders in the law enforcement and criminal justice profession.   The award is granted on the basis of grade point average, participation in extracurricular activities, leadership experience, awards/recognitions, letters of recommendations, and an essay on the topic of “Why I want to pursue a career in the law enforcement or criminal justice profession.”

The award recipient receives an engraved award plaque and a monetary honorarium in the amount of $1,000 to be utilized for tuition, books, and related expense.  Congratulations to Explorer Long on her selection for this prestigious award.

CHIEF VEID MUIZNIEKS RECEIVES SILVER ANTELOPE AWARD

Chief of Police (retired) Veid Muiznieks, with his trademark handlebar mustache, vibrant personality and dedication to service, has been a dynamic force of nature in the law enforcement arena, the National Law Enforcement Exploring Program, Scouting, his community and the State of Minnesota for decades.  His larger than life presence and high energy ensure that anyone who meets him never forgets him.  Chief Muiznieks was honored for his service to Scouting and Law Enforcement Exploring at the recent 2016 annual meeting of the Boy Scouts of America where he was presented the prestigious Silver Antelope Award.

The Silver Antelope Award, created in 1942, is presented to individuals of exceptional character who have provided distinguished service to Scouting and/or Exploring at the regional level.  Although a majority of Chief Muizneik’s volunteer service is conducted at the national level for Law Enforcement Exploring, he has provided significant support and leadership to his region through traditional Scouting activities.

Chief Muiznieks has served Law Enforcement Exploring with distinction for more than 25 years.   He has been a Post Advisor, a member of the National Law Enforcement Exploring Committee since 2004, served as the Lead Advisor for 14 National Law Enforcement Exploring Leadership Academies, served on staff for numerous National Law Enforcement Exploring Conferences and created the Law Enforcement Exploring Physical Fitness Proficiency Award as well as the Law Enforcement Exploring Special Recognition Awards Program.  Chief Muiznieks was recognized as Law Enforcement Explorer Advisor of the Year during his service as a Post Advisor and has been the recipient of many other honors and awards.

Following his retirement in 2009 after 34 years of service as a law enforcement officer, Chief Muiznieks remained active with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) as well as the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association.  He is the Chairperson for the IACP Retired Chiefs of Police Section and serves in the same capacity for the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association.  Additionally, he is a Sergeant at Arms for IACP General Assembly meetings and other events.

In addition to his involvement with the IACP and extensive service to Law Enforcement Exploring, Chief Muiznieks is an amateur boxing volunteer.  He is an avid boxing enthusiast and was a Golden Gloves boxer as a youth.  Currently, he serves on the Upper Midwest Golden Gloves Boxing Board of Directors and is the St. Paul (MN) Region II Golden Gloves Boxing Director.  He is a U.S.A. Boxing certified Referee, Judge, Clerk, and Timekeeper.  He frequently serves as a Judge and Referee at local, regional and national level boxing events.   Chief Muiznieks also serves as a Commissioner for the Minnesota Combative Sports Council.Congratulations to Chief Muiznieks along with

Congratulations to Chief Muiznieks along with the deep appreciation for his continued support of Law Enforcement Exploring!

2016 LAW ENFORCEMENT EXPLORERS CONDUCT ANNUAL WREATH LAYING CEREMONY AT THE NATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS MEMORIAL

The weather in Washington, DC preceding National Police Week was gloomy with daily rain and overcast skies, and the forecast for Saturday, 14 May was more of the same. Call it divine intervention or some other force of nature, but on that day the rain stopped, the sun shined bright and the skies turned blue with wispy white clouds to provide a window of opportunity to conduct the Annual Law Enforcement Exploring Wreath Laying ceremony before the clouds and rain returned to the nation’s capital.

In what has become an annual tradition on the first day of National Police Week, a wreath was placed at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in front of the name of a former Law Enforcement Explorer or Advisor that made the ultimate sacrifice as a law enforcement officer. This year, the wreath from Law Enforcement Exploring was placed in front of the memorial wall panel that contains the name of Officer Craig Allen Birkholz, a former Law Enforcement Explorer with Post #509, sponsored by the Kenosha (WI) Police Department. Officer Birkholz, a Fond du Lac (WI) Patrol Officer, was killed in the line of duty on 20 March 2011.

National Youth Representative Cynthia Garcia served as the master of ceremonies for the event and following welcome remarks to the many law enforcement officers, guests, Law Enforcement Explorers and Advisors attending the ceremony, introduced the dignitaries and a very special guest seated behind the podium. The dignitaries included the Honorable Gil Kerlikowske, Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (and Chair of the National Law Enforcement Exploring Committee); Chief Terry Cunningham (President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police); Mr. Craig Floyd (President and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial); Dr. Kevin Parsons (CEO of ASP, Inc., and member of the National Law Enforcement Exploring Committee), Fond du Lac (WI) Police Department Explorer Captain Brooke Mathes, and Fairfax County (VA) Police Department Explorer Christopher Kim. Joining the dignitaries behind the podium was special guest Mrs. Gay Anne Birkholz, mother of the late Officer Birkholz.

Also present at the memorial, in full dress uniforms, were approximately 65 Law Enforcement Explorers representing Posts sponsored by Kenosha (WI) Police Department, Fond du Lac (WI) Police Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Prince George’s (MD) County Police Department, Fairfax County (VA) Police Department, and Harford (MD) County Police Department. They were accompanied by Advisors and command staff personnel, also in their dress uniforms, from each agency.

In front of the memorial seal located in the center courtyard, and facing the podium, dignitaries and Mrs. Birkholz, stood a wreath from Law Enforcement Exploring honoring Officer Birkholz; a placard mounted in the middle of the wreath contained his family’s favorite photo of him in his Fond du Lac Police Department uniform and the wording, “In memory of Officer Craig Allen Birkholz and all other former Law Enforcement Explorers who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Assembled behind the memorial seal and wreath was an Honor Guard of four Law Enforcement Explores representing the Fond du Lac Police Department and the Kenosha Police Department. Two Honor Lines of ten Law Enforcement Explorers each, composed of a combination of Explores representing other law enforcement agencies at the ceremony, formed behind the Honor Guard.

 

Explorer Christopher Kim gave a very nice invocation for the ceremony after which National Youth Representative Cynthia Garcia directed the Honor Guard to assemble at the wreath. The Honor Guard, wearing white parade gloves, was escorted to the wreath by a bagpiper, DEA Special Agent Mike Galu, dressed in traditional bagpiper attire and regalia, and playing a marching tune. Explorer Captain Brooke Mathes then delivered a moving tribute to Officer Birkholz that addressed his childhood and family and highlighted his time as a Law Enforcement Explorer, as a U.S. Army Sergeant and combat veteran, as a Fond du Lac Patrol Officer, and the heroic actions that resulted in him making the ultimate sacrifice to help two other wounded police officers. Explorer Captain Mathes concluded her remarks by stating, Etched on the end of the memorial wall to my right, below the lion watching over his cubs, are the words, “It is not how these officers died that made them heroes, it is how they lived.”   Officer Craig Birkholz lived a hero’s life as a son and brother, a nephew, a husband, a solider, a police officer, a friend, and a patriot. May God rest his soul and continue to grant comfort to his parents, brother, wife and extended family as well as his many friends and colleagues. Let us now honor, with a wreath of remembrance, Officer Craig Allen Birkholz.

Upon conclusion of the tribute, members of each Honor Line marched in separate directions, meeting and then assembling adjacent to and across from the memorial panel with Officer Birkholz’s name. Once the Honor Lines were in place and standing at attention, the Honor Guard, carrying the wreath and escorted by the bagpiper playing an appropriate tune, solemnly marched along the west wall of the memorial to the panel etched with the name of Officer Birkholz where they stopped and then slowly and respectfully placed the wreath. The Honor Guard, Honor Lines, and all other Explorers and Advisors in attendance executed a reverent salute in tribute to Officer Birkholz while the bagpiper played “Amazing Grace.” The Honor Guard, followed by the Honor Lines, were then escorted to the front of the memorial’s reflecting pond by the bagpiper whereupon National Youth Representative Garcia announced the conclusion of the ceremony, thanked all participants and asked all Explorers and Advisors, along with dignitaries and other participants, to gather for a group photo with Mrs. Birkholz.

In addition to CBP Commissioner Kerlikowske and USMS Assistant Director Prout, several other members of the National Law Enforcement Exploring Committee attended the ceremony to include Federal Air Marshal Service Special Agent in Charge Kent Jefferies, Muskego (WI) Police Department Captain David Constantineau, CBP Chief Anye Whyte, and ATF Special Agent Michael Knight. Additionally, Senior Director for Exploring Tim Anderson and Director of Exploring Kristen Falatko from the national office for Exploring attended the ceremony.

MAR 2016 – NYR Garcia Meets President Obama

Exploring’s very own National Law Enforcement Exploring Youth Representative, Cindy Garcia, met President Obama at this year’s Report to the Nation. Read more here.

JAN 2016 – NEW SPECIAL AWARDS

The National Law Enforcement Exploring Committee approved at its 10 April 2015 meeting Law Enforcement Exploring Special Recognition Awards for:  Valor, Bravery, Lifesaving, and Meritorious Service. Law Enforcement Exploring did have any law enforcement-specific special recognition awards for Law Enforcement Explorers who have performed an extraordinary action demonstrating valor, bravery, lifesaving or meritorious service during the course of their Exploring activities or in a personal capacity.  The National Law Enforcement Exploring Committee felt it appropriate to honor Explorers that have performed such an action and as result developed the Special Recognition Awards for Law Enforcement Explorers.

Click here for more information on these awards.

NOV 2015 – LFL/LEE & HAPCOA SIGN MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

The Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA) conducted its 42nd annual conference and training symposium in San Antonio, Texas during the period of 16-20 November 2015.  National Youth Representative Cynthia Garcia addressed the delegates during the Aquila Awards Banquet and following her remarks presented a plaque to HAPCOA President Don Tijerina in recognition of the organization’s support for Law Enforcement Exploring.

A highlight of the conference was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Learning for Life (LFL) and the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA) with regard to promoting Law Enforcement Exploring (LEE) program opportunities in a manner that reflects the mission, objectives and core values of each organization.  HAPCOA and LFL will work together to increase the participation of young men and women in Law Enforcement Exploring.

HAPCOA, established in 1973, is the oldest and largest association in the U.S. of Hispanic American command officers from law enforcement and criminal justice agencies at the municipal, county, state and federal levels. With members in hundreds of agencies across the United States and Puerto Rico, many of whom are active in local chapters, HAPCOA is a national organization with local presence.

Through HAPCOA, chiefs of police, sheriffs and police superintendents from around the country are committed to meeting the challenges of selectiHAPCOA_LFL NYR Garcia presenting LEE plaque to HAPCO President Tijerinaon, promotion and retention of Hispanic American men and women in professional law enforcement and the criminal justice system. The members of HAPCOA work diligently to address the concerns of their respective communities and improve community relations through the implementation of innovative, state-of-the art training and educational programs.

 

OCT 2015 – LFL/LEE and NOBLE Sign Memorandum of Understanding

 

Learning for Life (LFL) and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with regard to promoting Law Enforcement Exploring (LEE) program opportunities in a manner that reflects the mission, objectives and core values of each organization. NOBLE and LFL will work together to increase the participation of young men and women in Law Enforcement Exploring.

NOBLE was founded in September 1976 and serves as the conscience of law enforcement by being committed to Justice by Action. NOBLE has nearly 60 chapters and represents over 3,000 members worldwide that represent chief executive officers and command-level law enforcement officials from federal, state, county, municipal law enforcement agencies, and criminal justice practitioners. NOBLE serves more than 60,000 youth through its major program components which include mentoring, education, leadership development, and safety.

The common goals of promoting and supporting the law enforcement profession, as well as a commitment to serving youth, makes for an ideal partnership between NOBLE and LFL/LEE. LFL/LEE looks forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with NOBLE as representatives from both organizations collaborate to reach more young adults interested in a career in law enforcement or a related field.

The MOU was signed at the National Law Enforcement Exploring Committee meeting, Chaired by U.S. CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske, on October 26, 2015 at the IACP Conference in Chicago. NOBLE President Gregory Thomas and NOBLE Executive Director Dwayne Crawford attended the meeting to sign the MOU in the presence of Chair Kerlikowske and other committee members.

Photos: The first photo depicts NOBLE President Gregory Thomas signing the MOU while National Law Enforcement Exploring Committee (NLEEC) Chair Gil Kerlikowske and National Youth Representative Cynthia Garcia observe. The second photo depicts (left to right) NOBLE Chair Dwayne Crawford, National Youth Representative Cynthia Garcia, NLEEC Chair Gil Kerlikowske, and NOBLE President Gregory Thomas following the signing of the MOU.

OCT 2015 – Explorers Project at 2015 IACP Conference

The annual International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference brings together approximately 18,000 chiefs, sheriffs, directors of agencies and command staff personnel from law enforcement agencies in the United States and throughout the world. The conference program includes seminars, training, discussions, workshops, and an Exhibit Hall filled with vendor representatives providing information and demonstrations on every conceivable product and service needed by law enforcement agencies as well as organization representatives from various law enforcement agencies and law enforcement affiliated private and nonprofit groups. Law Enforcement Exploring is one of many organizations that had a booth in the Exhibit Hall.

This year’s conference was held in Chicago, Illinois during the period of 23-28 October and twenty Law Enforcement Explorers, representing Posts from Chicago and the surrounding area, participated in a special program called the Explorers Project that was conducted on Sunday, 25 October. The Explorers Project, co-sponsored by the IACP Civil Rights Committee and the National Law Enforcement Exploring Committee, provides a unique opportunity for Explorers to “shadow” a chief, sheriff, or agency director for half a day during the conference. Each Explorer is assigned to an individual chief, sheriff, or agency director who serves as a mentor to that Explorer for the duration of the program. It is during this time the Explorer is encouraged to engage his/her mentor in conversations about career development, education, and leadership. The mentor is encouraged to have the Explorer accompany him/her to any scheduled training sessions in the morning and to visit the Exhibit Hall. Four national committee members served as mentors for the Explorers Project: Ocean County (NJ) Sheriff Mike Mastronardy, San Gabriel (CA) Chief of Police David Lawton, Federal Reserve Law Enforcement Unit Chief Kathy Perez-Grines, and new committee member Gardena (CA) Chief of Police Ed Medrano.

The Explorer Project commenced with a kick-off meeting where the objectives of the program were reviewed for the participants. National Youth Representative Cynthia Garcia addressed the Explorers participating in the program and challenged them to take full advantage of the time spent with their mentor. The program concluded with a luncheon sponsored by the Marcus Foundation at which U.S. CBP Commissioner and Chair of the National Law Enforcement Exploring Committee Gil Kerlikowske served as the keynote speaker. Arlington (TX) Chief of Police and IACP Civil Rights Committee Chair Will Johnson, as well as National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives President Gregory Thomas also spoke to the group.

Special thanks to FBI Section Chief Rhonda Glover and U.S. Marshal Noel March of the IACP Civil Rights Committee, along with IACP staff liaison Jennifer Rolfe, for their contributions in organizing an outstanding experience for the Explorers and mentors that participated in this year’s Explorers Project. Plans are already underway for the Explorers Project at the 2016 IACP Conference in San Diego.

Photos: First photo depicts Lansing (IL) Police Department Post 950 Explorer Tyler Schutt with his mentor, Arlington (TX) Chief of Police and IACP Civil Rights Committee Chair Will Johnson. Second photo depicts National Youth Representative Cynthia Garcia addressing Explorers Project participants.

OCT 2015 – EXPLORER SELECTED FOR 2015 HAPCOA SCHOLARSHIP AWARD FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT EXPLORERS

Explorer John M. Aldaco was selected for the 2015 Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA) Scholarship Award for Law Enforcement Explorers. Explorer Aldaco is a member of Post 892 sponsored by the U.S. Border Patrol office in Deming, New Mexico. Explorer Aldaco has been a Law Enforcement Explorer for three years and is a 2015 graduate of Walden Grove High School where he was a member of the National Honor Society, served as a teacher’s assistant, and graduated with a 3.81 GPA. He currently is attending college.

Explorer Aldaco has served in various leadership positions in his Post to include Explorer Operations Supervisor. He was honored as the Border Patrol Explorer of Year in 2013. In addition to his participation in Law Enforcement Exploring, he also serves as a volunteer with the Junior Humane Society. Upon completing college, Explorer Aldaco wishes to join the U.S. Border Patrol and eventually become a helicopter pilot with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations division.

HAPCOA, established in 1973, is the oldest and largest association in the U.S. of Hispanic American command officers from law enforcement and criminal justice agencies at the municipal, county, state and federal levels. Through HAPCOA, chiefs of police, sheriffs and police superintendents from around the country are committed to meeting the challenges of selecting, promoting and retaining Hispanic American men and women in law enforcement positions within the criminal justice system. HAPCOA members work diligently to address the concerns of their respective communities and improve community relations through the implementation of innovative, state-of-the art training and educational programs.

The HAPCOA Scholarship Award for Law Enforcement Explorers was established to recognize Law Enforcement Explorers of Hispanic ancestry who have shown potential to become future leaders in the law enforcement and criminal justice profession. The award is granted on the basis of grade point average, participation in extracurricular activities, leadership experience, awards/recognitions, letters of recommendations, and an essay on the topic of “Why I want to pursue of a career in the law enforcement or criminal justice profession.” The award recipient receives an engraved award plaque and a monetary honorarium in the amount of $1,000 to be utilized for tuition, books and related expense. Congratulations to Explorer Aldaco on his selection for this prestigious award.