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SPD Explorers, Sgt. Adrian Diaz Win Awards

Sgt. Adrian Diaz has big dreams for the Seattle Police Department’s popular Explorer post, laying the groundwork for a program that could eventually educate hundreds of area youngsters about law enforcement.

He’s already well on his way. The post, which had only seven youths involved when Diaz took it over five years ago, now has 44 members. He’s done so well, in fact, that both Diaz and his entire post are being honored today by Washington Law Enforcement Exploring Advisors for their efforts.

Sgt. Adrian Diaz (far right) with members of the Seattle Police Department's Explorer post

Sgt. Adrian Diaz (far right) with members of SPD’s Explorer post

The awards, the first in at least recent memory, will be handed out during a ceremony at SPD’s Park 90/5 facility in SODO, starting at 6 p.m. Sgt. Diaz is receiving the Post Advisor of the Year award and the youth he mentors are getting the Explorer Post of the Year award.

There are around 60 Explorer posts run by law enforcement agencies throughout the state. SPD runs one of the largest.

Diaz said it’s grown so quickly because the youth involved spread the word at their schools.

Youths, ages 14 to 21, who join the post commit to attend meetings twice a month during the school year and much more frequently during the summer. Many of them stick with the Explorer program for several years.

They learn the basics of law enforcement, including traffic stops, crime prevention, community policing and how to process a crime scene. They also volunteer to work at various community events such as Seafair.

“Even if a youth doesn’t join the police department in the future, they have an understanding of what it’s all about,” Diaz said. “My ultimate goal is they’ll become police officers.”

Several members of the SPD Exlorers post are currently in college and some have expressed interest in becoming police officers, Diaz said. Three have taken the written test this year, and all of them passed, he said.