Hammocks Explorer Post named ‘Best in County’

By Richard Yager….

Hammocks Citizens Advisory Committee chair James Blough (left) honors Officers Arlene Concepcion and Andy McManus, Explorer Post advisors.

For nearly 20 years Miami-Dade Police Hammocks District Officers Arlene Concepcion and Andy McManus have guided hundreds of West Kendall young people to better lives through special training and community service.

During 2011, Hammocks District Explorer Post 800 won a special award from the members of the Miami-Dade Police Academy as “Best Overall Post in the Miami-Dade Police Department.”

The two Hammocks Post advisors recently concluded their leadership of the Miami-Dade Police Department’s summer “Explorer Academy,” acting as drill instructors as well as lecturing in academic classes.

As Explorer advisors, Concepcion has served the Boy Scouts of America unit for seven years and McManus for 12. Both were named Officers of the Month by the District’s Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) on Aug. 31.

“Exploring” as a Law Enforcement area of BSA offers a worksite-based program for young men and women ages 14-20 in Post 800. They meet every Monday night at the Hammocks District Station for police work training, academics and activities.

Largest in the county, Hammocks Post 800 assists county commissioners during community health programs, food and holiday toy distributions, as well as participation in charity walk-a-thons and “Celebrate Safe Communities” events.

“Officers McManus and Concepcion arrange volunteer work or a social activity to keep all the Explorers busy,” said Capt. Miguel Hernandez, the district’s acting major who nominated the pair.  “During the summer, they usually try to raise enough money through fundraising car washes and bake sales to take the Explorers on a bus trip to a water theme park.

“They instill self-sufficiency in the Academy trainees, and it is through this mentoring that they have received extensive praise from parents who say they notice an improvement in their child’s self-esteem,” Capt. Hernandez added. “They make sure that the Explorers take pride in their appearance and are meticulous with their uniforms.”

The Hammocks Post now comprises 45 members but has served up to 60 members at one time, “partially due to Officers McManus and Concepcion’s popularity as mentors,” Capt. Suarez added. “They are exceptional leaders in this field and many Explorers eagerly recommend their friends to join the Post.”

Outreach Officer Laurel Wade said Explorer activities touch on many kinds of career opportunities, not those only associated with police work.

“It’s an eye-opener for young people, who are considering their future and want to gain a better understanding of citizenship and community service, too,” she said.

Post membership qualifications for male or female, ages 14-20, include a “C” average in school, no serious police record, parental permission, a background check and interview board approval. For details on Explorer Post 800 at Hammocks District Police Station, 10000 SW 142 Ave., call 305-383-6800, ext. 6834.

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