Beginning July 12, over 150 people will gather in Marana to participate in Marana Police Department's "Night Moves", a three-day training event for Police Explorers that takes public safety education beyond a typical classroom setting.
Aimed towards kids ages 16-20 interested in a career in law enforcement, The Police Explorers program is offered by many police agencies throughout the nation to teach kids all the ins and outs of public safety. Marana's "Night Moves", however, takes the learning experience to a practical level where the Explorers will be challenged with role-playing scenarios.
"'This event allows Police Explorers to go out and put into practice scenario-based situations they've been learning about in the classroom, including domestic violence, drunken disorderly conduct, robberies, runaways, and more," said Marana Police Chief Terry Rozema.
The scenario challenges will last three days and involve many volunteers and locations. Officers on scene will evaluate the Police Explorer's performance, and even offer some guidance.
"People have opened up their homes and businesses to support these scenarios," said Chief Rozema. "Volunteers are playing the roles of victims."
Police Explorers from throughout Arizona will be participating in the event including US Border Patrol, Tucson Police, South Tucson Police, Chandler Police, Glendale Police, and El Mirage Police.
"This is a collaborative effort," said Marana Police Officer Jimmy Rizzi, coordinator for "Night Moves". "This gives the kids an opportunity to work not just together within their own agency, but with kids from other agencies. Just like in the real world, we work with other agencies all the time."
"You get to think on your feet," Police Explorer RJ York, age 18, spoke of his experience from previous years. "I remember an officer down scenario where we had the area surrounded and the suspect wasn't complying. We had to go through it and figure it out."
This will be York's fourth year participating in "Night Moves". He recently graduated from Marana High School and enlisted in the United State Air Force. In addition to learning about law enforcement, he attributes the Police Explorers program for helping him develop the confidence to talk to people.
"It's important to learn as much as you can at these events so you can experience what an actual police officer will experience," said Police Explorer Zayda Olivas, age 15. "Ask a lot of questions, it really helps."
Olivas is a Marana High School sophomore. She learned about the Police Explorers program through her School Resource Officer. This will be her second "Night Moves."
"I look forward to doing this again," Olivas said. "Kids really enjoy the experience. We can also learn different techniques from other agencies."
Police Explorers will complete 21 different scenarios this year.