Monday night was marked by a euphoric patriotic kick-off to the National Law Enforcement Exploring Conference at Moby Gym.
The conference, which is held every two years, began in 1979 at Michigan State University. Law enforcement exploring is club designed to train teenagers ages 14 to 20 how to pursue a career in law enforcement.
After a laser show, a color guard exhibition and a video showcasing local law enforcement history from Wyatt Earp’s age tomodern technology, Governor Bill Ritter gave the keynote speech.
Ritter, whose career began as a District Attorney for City and County of Denver, came to support the national conference and encourage the more than 3,200 explorers that a career in law enforcement is an “honorable” goal.
“One of the most noble ways to serve your community is to make law enforcement a career,” Ritter said. “It is a noble service. It is a noble profession.”
The theme of nobility was also reemphasized with a tribute to a fallen officer Thomas F. Ballman from Kirkwood, Mo. Ballman, an advisor for a Kirkwood explorer troop died in the line of duty. Ballman’s uniform and badge were retired by his explorer troop in a somber moment accompanied by bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace.”
The week will continue with seminars hosted by law enforcement professionals and individual and team competitions. Competitions range from arrest and search to hostage negotiations to traffic accident investigation events.
Conference Director Bill Taylor said that 60 percent of all explorer participants go on to careers in law enforcement.
The event also serves as recruitment venue for law enforcement agencies nationwide. The career fair, which will be held all week on the second floor of the Lory Student Center, has booths hosted by myriad of agencies.
Federal agencies represented include the FBI, U.S. Marshals, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, among others.
State law enforcement agencies ranged from Garfield County Sheriffs Department to Denver Police Department to Weld County Sheriffs Department.
DEA spokesman, David Ausiello, described the conference as a “hotbed for law enforcement recruitment.”
Fort Collins resident Madeleine Smith contributed to this report. Staff writer Tim Maddocks can be reached at email@example.com.