Fourth out of 84 teams.
Members of the City of Warren Police Department's Law Enforcement Explorer Post #312 traveled to Colorado State University from July 16 through 21 to test their skills against approximately 2,400 of their peers during the 18th Biennial National Law Enforcement Explorer Conference.
Twelve members competed as part of three teams.
For one of the four-man squads, 2012 marked a place showing and, after falling just a single point short of placing at the last conference two years ago, redemption. This year the team placed fourth in the arrest and search competition and landed in the top 10 percent for bomb threat response.
"I think last time, in Georgia, when we missed by a point, it made us want to strive harder," team member Tiffany Dyke said. "This year, when we placed, it makes us want to try to achieve a higher place."
Her teammate Kyle Hanlin agreed, "We'd never placed before, so that was my goal going into it. Two years ago at the last conference we were sixth place and the top five get called onstage. I was beyond disappointed, so getting onstage this year was our goal. It was exciting."
"I know we all have friends from different posts, so hearing them cheer for us was amazing," Dyke added.
Team member Steven Kibbey said, "I've never jumped up and down so much in my life."
The team universally attributes their success to time working together to become a tight knit group.
"I enjoyed working with the gentlemen, and woman, of my group. Our group's been together for awhile so we've built up some chemistry," Hanlin said. "It was just nice to get a chance to show what we've learned. I've been in exploring for years and it's a great way to finish out my career."
"I think as a team, since we actually won an award, I think we're probably the best team in post history," Kibbey joked. "Because we've been together for awhile, we don't have to keep checking on each other, we can just go to work. We all know what we need to do."
The group acknowledges the help they've gotten along the way as well.
"It just speaks to the quality of our post that we can place," Hanlin noted. "There are groups from major metropolitan areas there and a team from a little, podunk town can place. It says a lot about our leader Branden Deppen. He's taught us all we know."
"I'm very proud of the entire post," Deppen said. "They worked very hard to get to the conference this year and all of the teams did exceptionally well."
Dyke noted, "I know the whole post thanks Brittany Saber and all of the officers who helped us get ready for the conference."
"Also all of the sponsors," Kibbey added. "Without them we would not have been there."
The team got a vote of confidence from someone else while they were at the conference, United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Administrator Michele Leonhart, who told the team she would hire them given the chance.
"When the DEA administrator tells the whole team that she would hire us in a heartbeat, that's a pretty cool feeling," Kibbey noted.
"It was pretty cool how they said they would hire us at the DEA," Dyke said. "It was also cool how everyone went hands on and they (the judges) said we were finding key evidence that no one else was finding."
Kibbey has a warning for law enforcement explorer posts across the country, "Since we did so well this year, I think in two years at the next conference we'll be a serious threat for first place in all the events. They might as well send the trophy now."