Metro Explorer Program graduates 24 members

LAS VEGAS -- Another group of young people is hoping to make a big difference as graduates of the southern Nevada law enforcement Explorer Academy.

It has been a tough year for the program with two former explorers killed in separate motorcycle crashes just weeks apart last year.

It is a grueling and rewarding six days of hard work as the 24 explorers representing Henderson, Boulder City, North Las Vegas and Metro can now call themselves graduates.

Metro Explorer Eddie Pazos is well on his way to achieving his life-long dream of becoming a police officer. He wanted to follow his dad, who is a detective with Metro Police.

"It's been a great experience, probably, definitely life changing," Pazos said. "You make a lot of good friendships, probably lifetime friendships, and maybe a partner in the future. So we'll see what happens."

With the camaraderie also comes heartbreak at times, this class is the first once since the deaths of Metro Explorers Angel Velasquez and Jonathan Ramirez last year.

"It sucks having those two pass away. We really miss them," Pazos added. "I was really close friends with Angel, a very sad day."

Angel Velasquez was one of the best explorers the law enforcement program had ever seen, rising to the rank of explorer captain and scoring a rare 98 percent on his exam. He was killed when a car pulled out in front of him on Sahara Avenue near Paradise Road.

Just weeks later, Jonathan Ramirez was killed in a motorcycle crash.

"We talk about it. We actually talk about the fallen officers and the sacrifice they give and just how tight the explorers get together," Metro Sgt. Branden Clarkson said.

The explorer graduates are prepared for life's challenges. The graduates understand law enforcement is a dangerous profession, but they have each other and that is what counts in a law enforcement career.

The Metro Explorer Academy is designed for young adults aged 16 to 20 and runs every summer.

 


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