OVERLAND, Mo. – When the St. Louis Metropolitan Police explorers set out on their trip to Topeka, Kansas, for a regional competition that simulates real life experiences, they thought it would be just that, a simulation.

“You never know when it may happen,” St. Louis Metro Explorer Chris Jones told FOX 2 on Friday.

The metro police explorers came across a scene on Interstate 170 near Page Avenue in Overland.

“There were three victims, two of which had injuries,” Jones recalled.  

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The explorers who had been training for simulations were now in a real-life situation with real victims, and the cadets used what they learned in class. They passed with flying colors.

“With the help of my advisors and fellow explorers, we were able to get first responders there within a reasonable amount of time, to take care of the patients as well as the overall scene,” Jones said.  

Then it was on to the competition that the group of explorers had been preparing for for a year, teaming up with the St. Louis County Police Department Explorers.

“The competition is very intense,” county explorer Amber Hoefl said.  

Just as they passed their real-life test in Overland, the team kept it going in Topeka, taking first place in the regional competition, which simulated scenario-based exercises like active shooters, domestic disturbances, and traffic issues.

It’s a competition that prepares these future city and county officers for crucial multi-jurisdictional experience by working together.

“This cross-training platform that we experienced at this competition is a lot of what you see in today’s law enforcement,” St. Louis County Police officer Brian Hassling said. “I was very proud of them. They worked really well together.”