The NYPD 71st Precinct Community Council, on Monday, June 22, acknowledged the 71st Brooklyn Explorers Academy and its aspiring police officers with Certificates of Appreciation during a luncheon ceremony at its Empire Blvd. station house.
Syl Hasani, Mitchelle Baltazar Lopez, and Melaney Edwards. Leah Baltazar Lopez, Kyle Pounder Kayla Pounder, Chad Nelson, Antonio Colbert, D’Hanna Frater, Nadem Mahabir, and Montana Cambry, were later, served a meal, complements of Bibi Bethune, GT Kingston Restaurant of Richmond Hill.
Community Activist, Tony Herbert in his keynote message, rallied the youngsters to carry the torch of perfect leadership to inspire their peers.
“I am honored to have this opportunity to be here. Most times I am speaking at a graduation, so this means a whole lot to see the positivity of this group of young folks. You are the standard bearers, the torch is being passed to you, the responsibility of what’s happening with the police department, is on your shoulders right now,” said Herbert.
“You have to be the example as shown by your participation in such an organized structure. The leadership that you espouse in the community is perfect, but at the end of the day, you have to go out and tell your peers, this is what I am doing, and it’s positive,” said the community activist.
Herbert told the youths that the police department is much very needed in communities to fight crime, and to ensure society is not lost to violence. He urged them to support the police department in its work to protect and keep people safe from anyone who wants to hurt them.
Addressing the spate of fireworks that continues to keep residents awake, Herbert said this is an example of how the Explorers could communicate their message, in a positive way to support the police department in their work, denouncing violence and disorder in communities.
Herbert applauded the Explorers for wearing their uniform with pride and thanked them for being examples to be followed. He reminded them that it was okay to be associated with the police department that supports programs to improve the lives of youth.
“We stand behind the police department, and we stand with you, one hundred percent,” Herbert told the Explorers.
Community Advocate, Dimple Willabus whose church, Victory Assembly of God headed by Pastor Ellsworth Chester, plays a major role in the community, applauded the program.
The church, through a collaborative effort with the NPYD, engages youth in after school sporting activities.
“Our youth are our future and it’s extremely important that they have great role models. It starts in the home, but a lot of times we don’t have role models, so we seek an Explorer program,” she said, and commended the Community Affairs Department, and others for organizing the event.
She applauded the police department for going beyond their job description to engage the children in the community.
“We need great examples in our community, like Tony Herbert,” she said, and called on the Explorers, to hold their heads high.
“I stand with the NYPD, because we do have good officers on the job. We need camaraderie with police officers and our community. I call on religious leaders to advocate, it is time to stand for what is right,” said Willabus.
President, Carl Cohen who was presented with a citation from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, for his outstanding work with the Explorers, reiterated the importance of supporting the future police officers, whom he encouraged to be respectful.
He called the 71st police officers the best in Brooklyn who, during the COVID-19 pandemic, have been working to curb crime, and defended the men in blue who have been slow to react to curb the noise nuisances brought on by a recent spate of fireworks activity across Brooklyn.
“Police officers are at risk because of what is taking place at this time. They don’t know if its gunfire or fireworks, so I agree that they must be careful,” said Cohen.
The event that was blessed by Pastor Ellsworth Chester of Victory Assembly Church of God, received compliments from Secretary, Stuart Balberg, Det. Martinos, Officer Mays, Officer Jacquet, Officer Caparatta and Officer Rivera.
The Explorers program provides young men and women from the city’s diverse communities with an introduction to a career in law enforcement or a related field in the criminal justice system. The program, geared for ages 14 to 20, often results in strengthening ties between the community and police. Explorers are taught the importance of higher education, self-discipline, and respect for diversity and human dignity through training, involvement in community service projects and other Exploring event.