Amsterdam Police Explorers excel at regional competition - The Recorder

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Amsterdam Police Explorers excel at regional competition The Recorder The Recorder - newspaper of the Montgomery County Region of New York and your best source for local news and information.

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Amsterdam Police Explorers Post members and supervisors pose after competing in the annual Cadet Stations Day on May 4 in Meriden, Connecticut. Pictured from left, Amsterdam Police Department Sgt. Jake Gifford, Caleb Gifford, APD officer Mike Martuscello, Brayden Loria, Dominic Lemire, Keiler MacNeal, Victoria Sayers-Hope, Artur Tkacz, Emily Snell, Seth Gifford, APD Detective Sgt. Sal Megna and APD officer Dennis Boice.


Recorder News Staff

For the first time in the program’s 23-year history, the Amsterdam Police Explorers Post placed among the top three at the annual competition for Northeastern posts.

The Amsterdam Police Explorers Post received third place overall at the annual Cadet Stations Day on May 4 in Meriden, Conn. The regional competition gathered explorers posts from the states of New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Stations Day places law enforcement explorers in several different police related scenarios with awards given to individual cadets for placing first, second and third in each activity. Amsterdam Police Detective Sgt. Sal Megna said the local post received individual awards in domestic response, a reported assault, firearms, and high-stress scenarios.

Megna said hearing Amsterdam called out as the third-place finisher overall was an awesome moment.

“It was almost like a shock because there are some explorers posts that meet a lot more, have a lot more resources and have a lot more kids than we do here in Amsterdam,” Megna said. “To be able to do that amongst 41 police departments that have explorers posts, it says something about our kids that they’re really dedicated.”

Megna said Stations Day provides the explorers experience in how police officers handle everyday situations through a controlled environment. He said most scenarios involve two explorers competing as a team.

“Every kid that came did an amazing job. I couldn’t be prouder of them,” Megna said.

He added the accomplishment is also a testament to the officers training the explorers.

Amsterdam explorers are currently supervised and trained by Megna, Sgt. Jake Gifford, officer Josh Bartman and officer Dennis Boice. The group meets weekly on Monday nights at the city police station. Local explorers attend several community events in the city and conduct fundraisers throughout the year for its uniforms, equipment and the annual trip to the competition in Connecticut.

Former Amsterdam Police Chief Thomas Brownell started the local explorers post in 1996, which is a group for local youths who are interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement or related fields, according to Megna. Post members range in ages from 14 to 20 years old.

The Amsterdam Police Explorers Post had a significant impact on Megna choosing to get into the profession. While in high school, Megna said his friend was an explorer the year the program was formed. At that time, Megna had his sights set on becoming a meteorologist.

“I always had an interest in it, but it wasn’t what I was focusing on at the time. A friend of mine was in the police explorers, and I said, ‘I’ll come with you to a meeting,’” Megna said. “I did it and from then really fell in love with the job.”

Megna said being an explorer helped him at the police academy and provided him some insight into the “ins and outs” of operations at the Amsterdam Police Department.

“Being explorer really pushed me to this is what I want to do,” Megna said. “Forget being a meteorologist; this is the job I want. This is way more fun, and I stuck with it ever since. I went to college for criminal justice instead of meteorology.”

Anyone interested in becoming an explorer can come to Amsterdam Public Safety Building when the group meets and ask the dispatcher where they are meeting that night. The post meets Mondays from 6 to 8 p.m. Interested individuals can also call APD at (518) 842-1100 and ask for officer Josh Bartman.

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