Police Explorers Honored For Their Service

The Explorers from Post No. 1 with Sheriff’s Officer Christine Farrell (center). From left to right, Damian Morrone, Chris Ambrosio, Sierra Baker, Farrell, Chris Beals, Daniel Rosengarth and Casey Iorio. (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

TOMS RIVER – Freeholders John Kelly and Gerry Little recently honored the members of Ocean County Chiefs of Police Law Enforcement Explorer Post No. 1.

All the Freeholders were joined by Ocean County Sheriff Mike Mastronardy and Christine Farrell, an officer with the sheriff’s department who has run the Explorer program for almost three years.

The program, open to students ages 14-20 (applicants must have graduated eighth grade to join), gives students an opportunity to explore careers in law enforcement, in towns that don’t necessarily have their own Explorers post.

The Post has 20 members, although only six were on hand to be recognized.

The students are mentored by law enforcement officers, and not only complete community service projects, but compete in regional and national law enforcement competitions.

Ocean County Sheriff Mike Mastronardy. (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

“They learn everything that we learn,” Farrell said of the Post’s members. “Firearms, how to do motor vehicle stops, burglary in progress. We also do community service projects. We give back to our towns and our communities.”

Explorer Post No. 1 walked away with numerous awards this past competition season:

  • First Place, 2018 Stockton State Competition, drill team
  • First Place, 2018 Stockton State Competition, burglary-in-progress response
  • First Place, 2018 Stockton State Competition, motor vehicle stops
  • First Place, 2018 Stockton State Competition, arrest, search and seizure response
  • Second Place, 2018 Stockton State Competition, motor vehicle stops
  • Second Place, 2018 Stockton State Competition, domestic violence response
  • Second Place, 2018 Stockton State Competition, female physical fitness
  • Back to Back Top Overall Post, 2018 Stockton State Law Enforcement Exploring Competition
  • Third Place, 2018 National Law Enforcement Exploring Competition, Exploring USA Community Service Winners for community service initiative, TECH talk

They competed nationally in Indiana this past July, and won third place over thousands of other Explorer Posts for their community project. The project, called TECH Talk, has the Explorers visit senior citizen communities and teach them how to use their smartphones: text, use Skype, post on Facebook. The Post has been engaging in that project for two years.

“They put a lot of research into it. As we all know, Ocean County has a very heavily populated senior citizen community and we felt the best way to give back to our community was by using their tech skills (pointing to Post members), because they’re constantly on their phones and computers, and put it to good use,” Farrell said.

Chris Ambrosio explains the Post’s TECH Talk program, with Freeholder Director Gerry Little looking on. (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

Post members come from Ocean, Lacey, Barnegat and Jackson townships. The program is funded by the sheriff’s foundation, and not through tax dollars.

“Our Explorers are not only exploring those opportunities [in law enforcement], but they are award-winning Explorers,” Kelly said. “We are so proud of everything [they’ve] accomplished.”

The Explorers include: Chris Ambrosio, Damian Morrone, Casey Iorio, Chris Beals, Sierra Baker, and Daniel Rosengarth, who were all honored by the Freeholders; and Aristotle Matarazza, Tyler Lehr, Sarah Fedak, Christopher Triano, Juan Alicia, Elizabeth Richardson, Eric Luna, Gina Matteo, Kevin Carhart, Nicholas Terzo, Nicholas Zibakowski, Quinn Baumgarten, Ryan Cassan and Timothy Swain.