The Salt River Police Department (SRPD) Police Explorer Post No. 909 held a Promotional Ceremony on February 8 for two new supervisor positions.
Gabriel Wood, a junior at Mountain View High School, was promoted to the position of Explorer Post Sergeant; and Chandler Community College student Brian Marquez was promoted to the position of Explorer Post Lieutenant.
The journey to achieving these promotions included many years of SRPD Explorer Post service and ultimately required that each of these two newly promoted leaders participate in a competitive assessment and challenging panel interview board. Each of these selected supervisors scored the highest in leadership, abilities, skills, knowledge, training, education, experience and their dedication to the Explorer Program, SRPD and to the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC).
The ceremony was held at the SRPD Indian School Road District Station. In attendance were family, friends, SRPD Explorers, SRPD Chief Patrick R. Melvin, SRPD command staff, and SRPD officers and professionals.
During the ceremony, Explorer Post Lt. Brian Marquez and Explorer Post Sgt. Gabriel Wood both were presented with their promotional certificates, their supervisor insignias and the Salt River Police Department Coin of Excellence, awarded by Chief Melvin. During Chief Melvin’s presentation, he emphasized the importance of supporting and maintaining a “professional, proactive and lead-by-example Explorer Post” and provided words of encouragement to those in attendance.
“You are the future leaders of the Salt River Police Department and of this Community. The Community, SRPD and all leadership will continue to provide you coaching, mentorship and guidance, as our dream is that one of you will be standing here in my place someday,” said Melvin.
Wood, an enrolled member of the SRPMIC, has been a member of the SRPD Explorer Post for the past four years. He has participated in a number of Explorer events, competitions and community policing activities. Wood said he loves to play stringed instruments, is an active member of his church, and describes himself as “a family guy.” During his interview process, he impressed the panel with his desire to help others and his willingness to lead by example. Wood says his goal is to one day become a police officer with the SRPD.
Marquez has been a member of the SRPD Explorer program for about four months and has already participated in a number of SRPD-sponsored events, competitions and community service projects. He does have previous experience as an Explorer as well as four years of ROTC experience as an honor guard commander. He impressed the interview panel with his organizational skills and prior leadership experience. Marquez says he also plans to become a police officer with the SRPD.
The SRPD Police Explorer Post No. 909 was founded in 1995 by Assistant Chief Karl Auerbach and Commander James Sutphen. Since then, more than 20 men and women who were once SRPD Explorers now work within the SRPMIC government, the SRPD itself, the Salt River Department of Corrections, Community enterprises or for other local governments. The SRPD Explorer Program provides valuable life skills, such as accountability, communication, dedication, self-esteem, service, respect and pride, that prepare young men and women to be valuable team members serving their Community or the SRPD. The SRPD was the first within Indian Country law enforcement to begin a police Explorer Post. The SRPD Explorer Post motto is “Our Explorers today are the Leaders and Police Officers of Tomorrow.”
Meredith Duwyenie, a former SRPD Explorer, started her experience as a cadet in 1995. She remembered patrolling the Pavilions, the Scottsdale Six Drive-In and the Lehi area. She said the staff was minimal then and everyone seemed to enjoy working together.
“Looking back on the experience I gained from being in the program, I remember times when I was with a well-respected officer and how he handled a certain situation. His demeanor was proficient and he handled the situation properly,” said Duwyenie.
When asked what message she would have for anyone thinking about joining the SRPD Explorer Post today, she stated, “I have three teenagers of my own now, and I’ve told them about the time I was in the program and all the experience I gained from it. I tell them the patrolling, meeting the staff, and learning what our officers do and why they do it has helped me to gain knowledge, respect and good memories.”
Duwyenie is now a secretary for the Land Management Board in the SRPMIC Community Development Department.
The Salt River Police Explorer Post meets on Monday evenings and participates in a number of community service projects, regional competitions and recreational activities. Members have to be between 14 and 21 years old, be of good character, and maintain a “C” average through high school and college.
If you are interested in more information about the Explorer Program, please contact Det. Ed Alameda at email@example.com or call (480) 326-7897.