03/30/10 — Explorers practice law enforcement technique

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Explorers practice law enforcement technique

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on March 30, 2010 1:46 PM

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Explorer Capt. Justin Lewis, portraying a driver suspected of traffic violation, is questioned by Ethan Price, with Lt. Mondo McEachern supervising during an Explorers' training exercise.

Explorer Scouts with Post 209 are learning techniques that will serve them well if they decide to make a career in law enforcement.

The Explorer Scout program allows some posts to focus on police training and Goldsboro's Post 209 does just that, giving teenagers a chance to learn what police work is like. The unit has won trophies at several regional competitions over the past few years.

At a recent meeting, Scouts practiced making traffic stops, under the watchful eyes of Goldsboro Police Department Sgt. Trey Ball and Officer Tyler B. McNeill. Visitors from a Wilson post were on hand to watch the training, hoping pick up some tips.

"Officer safety is paramount, of course," Ball said, "and just getting them to go through the procedures, to be safe, and make sure they're safe, and the violator is safe."

As he watched, post Capt. Justin Lewis and Lt. Mondo McEachern went through the procedure for making a vehicle stop.

"Turn your wheels like they should be. Like you know they ought to be," McNeill chided the Scouts as they practiced in a parking lot near the police department offices.

One of the Scouts, 15-year-old Sgt. Chase Serlick, is the younger brother of James Serlick, a Goldsboro officer who is battling a rare form of leukemia.

"My brother inspired me to be a police officer, and when I got in this program, I just fell in love with it," Chase said.

He described how his older brother inspired him.

"The way he acts, the things he does -- the way he treats people, the way he interacts with people.

"He talks to them with respect, but they are to a point where they'll realize, 'Hey, I messed up. And this is what I need to do, and this guy caught me, and he's doing his job.'"

Also like his older brother, Chase wants to stay in Goldsboro to be a police officer.

"I know this place pretty well -- I've lived here all my life, and I just couldn't think of going anywhere else," he said.

Ethan Price of Seven Springs was another member of the post trying his hand at making a proper stop.

He switched on the lights in the patrol car behind a 1998 Ford F-150 truck, with McEachern offering some guidance.

"First thing to do is announce yourself," McEachern said.

"I'm Officer Price with the Goldsboro Police Department. Do you know why I stopped you?" the Scout asked Lewis, who was playing the role of a suspect.

"No, man," Lewis responded.

Price explained why he had pulled the truck over and, after taking Lewis' license and registration, he displayed a warrant for the driver's arrest for carrying a concealed weapon.

That meant Lewis had to get out of the car and McNeill saw the move as an opportunity to give the young men advice on how best to handcuff a suspect.

"At this point, a lot of times what I'll do is -- a lot of people are right handed, which hand do you think I want to grab first?" McNeill asked before answering his own question.

"The right," he said.

The officer then showed the Scout a way of grabbing two fingers on a subject's hand to immobilize him or her while they are being detained.

"Now, at this point, if he tries to be stupid, you can do whatever you need to do. If he tries to pull away, you can put him right back in the car," he explained.

The officers also discussed with the Scouts the most important spot to cover when frisking a suspect -- the waistband, with McNeill explaining that that is the place most suspects would be expected to hide a weapon.

Explorer Matthew Jones said that being a police officer is a tradition of sorts in his family. And he said the training the Scouts were going through are helpful in learning what will be required of him should he continue that tradition.

"Learning officer safety is obviously pretty important," he said. "And things that you should do, and not do, the position of the car, and everything else."