CANYON LAKE — The Copperas Cove High School Criminal Justice Club, supported by training from the Copperas Cove Police Explorer’s Program, competed in the Texas Public Service Association Central Region Competition, where they placed in 12 of the 13 events.

All 14 CCHS students competing on the regional contest will be moving onto the state competition in April.

After not placing in her individual event, Kayla Pastrano focused her sights on placing in the SWAT team event to qualify for the state competition.

“After they announced fourth place and third place positions, I knew I probably wasn’t going to state. I looked at my dad and said, ‘We’re not going,’ just as they announced Copperas Cove in second place. I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited,” Pastrano said.

Matthew Smith easily jailed the competition when he placed first in the closing statements competition.

“I used the analogy of Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf to deliver an effective closing,” Smith said. “I was confident going in, but you never really know how you did until they announce the places.”

Caleb Frazer, a first-year competitor in TPSA, is one of the many Copperas Cove Police Department Explorer members participating this year.

“I especially enjoyed the foot pursuit event because it made me feel like a cop,” Frazier said.

The Copperas Cove Explorer Program helps youngsters develop police skills through training and mentorship by police officers.

The coordinator of the Explorer Program John Bowman, a Copperas Cove police officer, helped coach the students for the competition. Officers John Bartlett and Kayla Long also coached the students.

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