‘Gold’ Explorers honored for work inside and outside classroom


One is an Anaheim High School junior, and the other is a sophomore in college.

The Explorer program allows young men and women, ages 14 to 21, to learn skills and character traits required to be a police officer. Many become police officers.On Thursday, Explorer Sgt. Matthew Bevins and Explorer Cpl. Pillar Hernandez added “Gold Award winners” to their lists of accomplishments. Law enforcement leaders from around Orange County honored the pair – and top Explorers from other police agencies – at a dinner at the Orange County Sheriff’s Academy in Tustin.

This year’s group includes 15 graduating high school seniors; each plans to attend college next year.

“Explorer Sgt. Bevins and Explorer Cpl. Hernandez are invaluable assets to Anaheim Police Explorer Post 249 and deserve this recognition. They are outstanding representatives of the dozens of young men and women who volunteer and support the Anaheim Police Department,” said Officer Jacob Gallacher, who oversees the program with Officer Leslie Vargas. As teen-agers, both were Explorers.

In nominating Hernandez for the award, Vargas wrote, “She is a positive role in her community and she is determined to reach her goal to become a police officer.”

A sophomore at Westwood College who carries a 3.5 GPA, Hernandez volunteered nearly 300 hours during her two years in the program.

In one competition, Hernandez led a team that cooked homeless people meals and gave them clothing.

“She is a hard worker and is well respected in the post,” Vargas wrote.

At Katella High School, she was a JROTC squad leader, participated in student government and was captain of the soccer team.

She also mentors children of domestic violence and junior high girls .

“Explorer Hernandez not only volunteers her time in the Explorer Post, but finds time to continue to help her community while taking six college courses,” Vargas wrote. She also carries a part-time job as a hostess at Bubba Gumps’ restaurant.

Bevins is also a strong student, carrying a 3.5 GPA, and earning membership into the National Honor Society.

In 2013 he volunteered 235 community service hours, and led APD’s competition team to three awards at the Los Angeles Sheriff Competition in April.

He mentors elementary school-age children who participate in the police department’s Jr. Cadet program and recently received two presidential volunteer service awards from President Obama.

“Explorer Bevins excels as an Anaheim Police Explorer,” Vargas wrote. “He is dependable and a hard worker.”