SPPD Explorer of Year Daniel Cardoza (center) is congratulated by (left to right) Reserve Officer Rosalie Madrigal, Police Chief Steve MacKinnon, Reserve Officer David Curran and Detective David Lusk.

Daniel Cardoza honored as the first ever SPPD Explorer of the Year

February 27, 2008
Santa Paula Police Department
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesDaniel Cardoza has been honored as the Santa Paula Police Department’s first Explorer of the Year, an award he garnered through notable devotion to his volunteer efforts and interest in law enforcement, said a program assistant. Explorer Cardoza, 19, who joined the SPPD’s first-ever Explorer Post #2350 when it was founded in 2006, was lauded at a recent countywide Explorers recognition event held at Camarillo City Hall.“He has been with our department for over a year,” said Reserve Officer David Curran, who acknowledged, although “it was a tough call between them all, we see Daniel a lot at the station. He volunteers in records, helps Dispatch, and also goes out on patrol with the officers and helps them” by providing support services such as running copies of reports.“Daniel is very motivated and truly wants to become an officer.... you see him at all the community events; you can count on him every time” to be where needed. “Daniel has also been assisting with our reorganization of our evidence room and helps with traffic control” at a variety of community events.Explorer Cardoza, Curran noted, “successfully completed the Ventura County Explorer Academy this past summer and was promoted to Senior Explorer.” Although a Criminal Justice major at Ventura Community College, which Cardoza attends full-time, Curran said that he still “consistently volunteers many hours per week” to SPPD Explorer duties.Scheduled to graduate with an associate’s degree in the summer of 2008, Cardoza plans on attending the Ventura County Police and Sheriff’s Reserve Academy. “After he graduates from the academy and while continuing his education, Daniel plans on becoming a reserve officer with the City of Santa Paula,” with the ultimate goal of becoming a full-time SPPD officer.A volunteer program designed to assist youth with developing leadership skills, community pride and personal goals, the Explorers program also educates youth about the law enforcement profession. “Each Explorer Scout is required to attend a two-week academy where they learn patrol procedures, report writing, proper use of the radio, crowd control and laws of arrest,” said Curran. “The academy also instills a sense of individual pride and stresses teamwork.”
Many of today’s law enforcement professionals started participating in an Explorer program. “It is our hope that many more will follow the same path,” and benefit from the program’s emphasis on avoiding certain behaviors that would exclude them from a rewarding career in law enforcement.SPPD Detective David Lusk is the SPPD’s Explorer advisor, assisted by Reserves Curran and Rosalie Madrigal. “This is my first time” to be involved with the Explorer program, and although Curran said at first he believed his involvement would be minimal, “I found that I liked working with the kids, and they’re a good bunch of kids,” and he encouraged Madrigal to also become involved.Being an Explorer has many pluses. “It’s good on the college application resume,” and the program is geared towards “making sure that they go in the right direction” by gaining self-confidence and becoming involved in the community.Curran said that other Posts have “very stringent” requirements, such as high grade point averages, but “We spoke to the Chief (Steve MacKinnon) and he said he would like to take those with lower grades to motivate them... and Daniel has volunteered to help tutor some of the other Explorers.”Those who would like to become Explorers must be at least 14 years old. For more information on the SPPD Explorer program, contact Reserve Officer Curran or Detective Lusk at 525-4474.

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