The sound of shots fired inside Weslaco’s high school gymnasium over the weekend rang loud during a simulated active shooter scenario test.

HARLINGEN — BANG, BANG, BANG.

The sound of shots fired inside Weslaco’s high school gymnasium over the weekend rang loud during a simulated active shooter scenario test.

The Harlingen Police Department Explorers squad rushed to the sound of the shots to eliminate the threat.

“They were briefed, walked in tactical cutting corners and making sure there were no threats,” said Jaime Palafox, HPD district representative. “They gathered as much information as they could and relayed it to dispatch so all the other units knew what was going on.”

Shots rang out louder after the squad crossed a wounded woman on the floor and more students.

“Then, they came across the bad guy with the gun and took out the shooter to eliminate the threat,” Palafox said. “They were very impressive.”

The HPD Explorers group is a group of well-behaved and talented young men and women ages 14 to 21.

They come together and train in many real-life scenarios for competitions against other agencies around the nation.

They’re training to be the police officers of tomorrow.

Last Saturday, members of the Harlingen PD Explorer Post #3077 participated in the Weslaco Border Patrol Law Enforcement Explorer Competition.

The Explorers competed against 30 teams from around the Rio Grande Valley and around the state.

Palafox said the students were armed with their plastic guns and handcuffs.

During the event, the students went through real scenarios any police officer can encounter on any given day.

They placed in multiple categories and took first place honors in four out of six events.

“They represented Harlingen PD very well,” Palafox said. “They are eager to learn and very proud and respectful.”

Agencies such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Texas Department of Public Safety, sheriff deputies and local police departments were at the event, judging and guiding the kids throughout the scenarios.

During the competition, students wore law enforcement attire and had rubber guns.

“The HPD Explorers did an excellent job and they represented our department and community in a very positive and exceptional manner,” Harlingen Police Chief Jeffry Adickes said. “We are very proud and fortunate to have such a bright future in this great group of young people.”

HPD Explorers placed in the following events:

1st Place – Over-all physical fitness competition

1st Place – Officer down

1st Place – Active shooter

1st Place – Crime scene investigations

2nd Place – Robbery in progress

2nd Place – Felony traffic stop

3rd Place – Hostage negotiations