Student Worker Named Explorer of the Year

El Vaquero Staff Writer

Sevan Sakisyan, an 18-year-old GCC freshman has won Explorer-of-the-Year honors two consecutive years.

His supervisor, Glendale Police Department detective Dan Johnston, said, “He probably would have won it the third year” if the rest of the team had not opted for a dinner outing instead of an award banquet.

The award is presented to explorers who are nominated by their supervisors because their performance evaluations are outstanding and the explorer has done things that are above and beyond the call of duty.

Detective Johnson said Sakisyan “had done numerous things that were above and beyond the call of duty while on ride-along with police officers. “He has gotten outstanding evaluations and everybody in patrol knows who he is,” added Johnston.

Getting into the Glendale Police Department Explorer program is not easy. Every explorer must pass a stiff program that includes 16 weeks of law enforcement classes. Those classes are held on 16 consecutive Saturdays from 7:30 in the morning until 3:30 in the afternoon.

Police communications, the California court system, vehicle codes, report writing, leadership and cultural diversity classes are among the curricula. The physical regimen includes marching and physical training.

Sakisyan, who graduates from Glendale High School in June, has had his heart set on a career in law enforcement since he was a mere boy. “I want to become a cop because I have always wanted to do it since I was a kid.

I just loved it and I’ve wanted to do it. I like helping the community out in any way I can. It has been a dream of mine since a very early age.”

Johnston said, “He’s considered as part of the mix now and he’s allowed to do more things” than most of the other explorers. “He does field interviews, operates the computer, has searched people, takes field notes and done other things that are [usually] left up to the sworn police officer.”

Sakisyan has gained proficiency on the radio. He said, “The police communications class is important. I most enjoy police communications” because knowledge of that vital piece of police technology can sometimes make the difference between life and death.

“You learn the dos and donts of the radio, the history of it and how it works,”Sakisyan said.

The leading explorer’s mastery of the radio has been demonstrated on numerous occasions.

Once, he summoned back-up for an officer who needed assistance and, another time, he summoned medical help for a child who had injured himself in a park. On yet another ride-along, he had to call in an airship to assist in an on-the-spot investigation.

Johnston said Sakisyan, who first got involved in the explorer program while he was still a student at Wilson Middle School in Glendale, “Is extremely reliable and honest and he participates more than any explorer I have ever seen. He volunteers 400 to 600 hours a year for the Glendale Police Department..”

That’s 10 times as many hours as the average explorer puts in annually.
Sakisyan said, “I always wanted to become involved in law enforcement and as soon as I heard about the program from a school resource officer, I decided that this would be a good way to start” to gain a basic knowledge of law enforcement.

Johnston said, “I think he’ll make an outstanding officer. He’s got a lot of redeeming qualities.” Sakisyan said being a police officer is a “good job and you get to learn something new from every call.”

Sakisyan is a team player who relates well to his co-workers and superiors.

Johnston said, “He treats everybody with dignity and respect and that same respect is reciprocated. He gets along with the patrol officers very well and he is well-liked by them.”

He plans to join the department after he has earned his degree in public administration.
He wants to get into the GPD at “an early age” he said. Law enforcement is his first love and the role he enjoys playing most is that of a sworn officer. However, his penchant for “working with juveniles” could lead him to a second career as a probation officer after he retires, hopefully, as a captain from the GPD.

Sakisyan intends to earn his degrere in public administration at Cal State L.A.

“I talked to him extensively about his goals and I know that he could handle the job” if he ever wanted to be a chief, sand Johnston. “I have no doubt that he’ll make an outstanding officer.”