Competition judges youth on law enforcement skills

 It's good to prepare for the worst, no matter what age.
Law enforcement agencies across the state are teaming up with hundreds of youth to do just that.

It's a competition to see who has the best law enforcement skills in Texas, but the participants are younger than you might think.
Around 240 people, ages 14-20, went head to head Saturday in a Law Enforcement Explorer competition at Akins High School.
"The scenarios, the unknowns. The kind of training for what I may be facing even if I'm not in law enforcement," says Lance Jones, student.
Exploring is a nationwide program which gives young people an opportunity to explore different career paths while teaching life skills.
Saturday a competition was hosted by the Austin Police Department and Travis County Constable Precinct 2.
Those who participated were from 23 law enforcement agencies across Texas.
They've been trained by some of the best.
"We create stressful situations, like the scenarios today, and learn how to make on the spot decisions and to go with that. Formulate plans quickly, process a lot of information. Through law enforcement training we have to sometimes operate on very little information to make good and well-informed decisions," says Sr. Police Officer Thomas Castonguay, Austin Police Department, Explorer Program.
Explorers competed in several categories; from traffic stops, to hostage negotiations and even active shooter scenarios.
Situations that Lance Jones says he can be better prepared for.
"A guy starts shooting. Maybe you have a concealed weapons permit and there are no cops coming on the scene but you see that this guy starts shooting at people. You want to try to get these people out as quickly as possible. This training kind of helps you deal with that type of situation and help the law enforcement officials coming on the scene," says Lance Jone, stJonest.
So the community and law enforcement can learn to understand each other and work together.

The Austin Police Department Explorers were honored in 2014 as the state of Texas explorer post of the year.


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