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Tuesday, 14 July 2009 10:43

From the Desk of Sheriff Jim Coats - Citizens Patrol Volunteer Program July 2009

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Pinellas County Sheriff Jim CoatsI am often approached by citizens wishing to contribute their time and energy to the community. Allow me to suggest the Sheriff’s Citizens Patrol Volunteer Program as a wonderful way to help out.

As a member of the Citizens Patrol, you will have an opportunity to serve side by side with our deputy sheriffs and perform a variety of valuable services for our citizens and visitors to Pinellas County. Some of the responsibilities include seizing and recovering found property, assisting with disabled motor vehicles, directing traffic at crash scenes, issuing parking tickets, participating in community events, child fingerprinting and vacation house checks,to name a few.

Citizens Patrol Volunteers will typically work in teams of two and be assigned to drive a marked “Citizens Patrol” van. Volunteers are issued a uniform and they will learn to respond to dispatches from the Communications Center. They are responsible for contacting Communications regarding any incident they may witness or discover while on patrol.

Under no circumstances are Citizens Patrol Volunteers to become involved in a situation that should be handled by law enforcement.

Citizen Patrol applicants must meet the following criteria:
• Must be a citizen of the
United States
• Be at least 18 years of age
• Possess a valid driver’s license
• Successfully complete a program application
• Pass a background investigation

Once the application is completed and returned, a background check will be conducted and applicants will be scheduled for a polygraph test, a psychological test and a physical assessment test. Once the application process is successfully completed, approved volunteers will be scheduled to attend the 100-hour Citizens Patrol Academy.

Volunteers will receive individual training for their work assignments as well as occasional training with other volunteers in a group.

Currently the Citizen’s Patrol has 21 members. Members are asked to perform 24 hours of service in a 3-month period, which averages to about 8 hours per month or 2 hours a week.

The program is coordinated through our Patrol Support Section under the Patrol Operations Bureau. If you are interested in applying, please call Sergeant Kenneth Page at 727-582-5604.

Our volunteers provide an invaluable level of service and support to the community as well as to Sheriff’s Office members. Your desire to volunteer your time to help others is an excellent example of being a good neighbor and contributes to our overall mission of “Leading The Way For A Safer Pinellas”.

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