Northeast Tarrant

Local police Explorers see growth in interests

Devon Nalley was calm and collected while asking a pulled-over driver if he’d had anything to drink.

The 18 year old stood outside a black Dodge Avenger and tried to catch the driver in a lie.

Nalley was involved in a training exercise as part of the Colleyville Police Department’s Explorer program, something she’s been involved in since its beginning in August.

As part of the exercise, she asked the driver a series of questions.

How many beers? He didn’t waiver from “one.” Where was he coming from? A friend’s house, he replied. Where does that friend live? Cheek-Sparger, he said. Where are you headed now? Home was the answer.

Then the Colleyville teen asked the driver to step out of his car, and she conducted a field sobriety test as though she’d given one many times. Devon watched his eyes as she waved a pen in front of his face. The she looked for telling clues of someone who has had too much to drink as he walks along a line and she watched as he tried to balance on one leg.

She concluded that he was OK to drive and sent him on his way.

That’s when Colleyville Police Department Corporal Patrick Starrett asked Nalley and the 10 other Explorers if in this hands-on scenario if they would have let him go or arrested him.

On Thursday night, Starrett taught the group more about the penal code and DWI enforcement. The program, which gives students a taste of law enforcement has ballooned from 5 members to 15 in a little over a year.

“The Explorers have definitely learned a lot. I have learned a lot,” Starrett said. “They’re going through a mini academy.”

Members have learned several law enforcement exercises, including building searches, crisis management and more while learning about the law and the role of local and federal law enforcement. Nalley says she’s memorized the training manual. The post’s members then take those skills and scenarios they have practiced to an annual state competition where they compete against other Explorer clubs from across Texas.

Beyond the training manual, Starrett said the group members learn teamwork, problem solving and discipline. The group also helps at local events such as ticket sales at the annual Colleyville barbeque.

Most of the members expressed an interest in a career in law enforcement.

Ethan Fitzgerald of Fort Worth said the program helped him realize he wants to enter law enforcement like his father, a police officer in Southlake.

“We’re learning all the aspects of law enforcement,” he said. “I definitely want to do it.”

Nalley said two months into the program, she realized law enforcement is her future.

“It was just getting to see what they do,” she said. “The idea to help keep peace and make places safe.”

Starrett said there are plans to continue to grow the program with more experiences and additional advisers.