Miami Palmetto High senior Kent Trespalacios has volunteered with the Pinecrest Police Explorers for three years now. Today, he’s a commander, which means seven other Explorers report to him.
“We do community activities and in class training so we can become familiar with the law enforcement aspect of a community,” he says. “It is interesting experiences. I think I want to practice law but not law enforcement.”
He became involved with the Police Explorers after talking to one of his former teachers. He looked up what Police Explorers are and liked it enough to join.
“We do ride-alongs with police officers,” he says. “They tell you their experiences in law enforcement.”
The Explorers help with writing reports, writing tickets, and writing up accident reports.
Going along on the calls means that the students can see the officers in action at emergencies.
During the summer, he goes out with officers twice a week for a total of 16 hours. During the school year he goes on weekends.
Trespalacios is also a member of the Pinecrest Youth Advisory Council.
“There we get to talk to our community leaders like Mayor Cindy Lerner and other council members,” he says. “We see how departments come together in this rather small community. I get to see how they come to solutions to the problems they have in Pinecrest.”
His experience as a Police Explorer is helpful in his position as a member of the Youth Advisory Board. Youth Advisory Council members participate in activities such as Veteran’s Day, Earth Day and Relay for Life.
“We have a team and we raise money for cancer research,” he says. “Each team makes a goal for money and we each raise that amount or more.”
The most recent Relay for Life had a beach theme and their team was called the Beach Boys.
At school, Trespalacios is a member of the History Bowl team.
“I enjoy history,” he says. “I joined at the end of ninth grade. We go to competition. I get to hang out with friends while engaging in intellectual stimulation.”
In order to prepare for a competition, he reads a lot of history and watches documentaries.
“I have taken a bunch of history classes,” he says.
The competition can include questions in a large variety of areas, including music, pop culture, world history, and current events.
Although his team did well, only the Palmetto A Team was able to go to the national competition.
Trespalacios is a member of the Social Science Honor Society and the National Honor Society. He became involved in the student council last year and was named parliamentarian.
“I help staff and I also am also with peers who want to better the community and better the school,” he says.
Through student council he’s participated in Plant the Pride (the beautification program), graduation.
Coming up later this summer he’ll help with Panther Preview, where they introduce ninth graders to the school.
For college, he’d like to attend college in Washington, D.C. He’s considering Georgetown, George Washington University and American University. He considers Johns Hopkins a D.C. area school. He’s settling on a political science major with the intent to attend law school.
His future could include elective office. He hopes to clean up the image of dirty politicians by offering voters a choice of an honest person.
“It’s a dream of mine,” he says.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld