By Joycelyn Cabrera
Sixteen-year-old Dreama King was awarded the Maricopa Police Department Explorers’ “Explorer of the Year” after she prevented a peer from committing suicide over the summer.
King stumbled upon an online group chat and discovered a young lady who had described the desire to harm herself and end her life due to her living circumstances.
King convinced the teen to message her privately and prevented her from taking her own life by helping her realize her own self-worth. Today, both young women have connected as close friends and continue to talk regularly.
After discussing the series of events with the lead advisor of MPD Explorers, Officer Chris Evans, she was nominated to be named 2017’s MPD Explorer of the Year. King received the honor in early November at the Maricopa Police Foundation awards dinner.
King, a junior at Maricopa High School, has been a part of MPD Explorers since her freshman year, after contemplating a career in military service or law enforcement. She rose to executive commander and second in command among the Explorers after only two years.
Evans nominated King due to her achievement in protecting a life as well as her drive and motivation among the Explorers. “It’s pretty easy working with someone who has that drive. She definitely earned it,” he said.
Evans oversees training among the Explorers and describes scenario-based situations to be prepared for real-life emergencies. Additionally, Explorers are exposed to potentially dangerous scenes when they participate in ride-alongs with officers.
The goal is for every Explorer to know how to react in any situation. Evans and King agree it was the training that primarily guided King through what to do, what to say and how to say it.
King said she was shocked and honored to receive the award. She believes anyone currently struggling should try to seek help. “There’s a lot of people that care. You can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.”
Joycelyn Cabrera is a senior at Maricopa High School.
This story appears in the January issue of InMaricopa.