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Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona

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Concepcion Molina, 21, Vanessa Alvarado, 13, Robert Alvarado, 15, Alex Valenzuela, 14, Alex Galaz, 16, and Antonio Valencia, 15, the first tribal Police Explorers graduated from Explorer Academy, each a success of a program the tribe and the community once thought impossible. When tribal Police Officer Vince Pettis started the program last year, tribal leaders refused funding, expecting the idea to fail. "I wanted to be revolutionary," Pettis, told the Arizona Daily Star, explaining why he didn't give up. "The youth had nothing to do and they were bored. I wasn't going to sit idly by and watch things get worse." He started with no money, no support, few volunteers and a group of 12 teens with an interest in learning police work. They scraped by with bake sales and other activities, then volunteered at charity events and did security for tribal events. "The community and tribal council were very impressed," Pettis said. "That was when tribal supervisors said we could get uniforms." There are now 25 explorers, ages 14-21, a van to carry them and full backing from the tribe which pays for uniforms and expenses. "I'm not interested in whether or not they become police officers," Pettis said. "I want them to become good people."