MADERA COUNTY – Oakhurst resident Jean Newman was honored Saturday evening when Sheriff John Anderson announced her selection as Citizen On Patrol (COP) Volunteer Of The Year.
Newman was recognized for volunteering more than 400 hours of service to the Sheriff’s Office and the citizens of Madera County in 2012.
“She demonstrates a strong work ethic, with great enthusiasm,” said Sheriff Anderson. Newman was recently appointed Team Leader of the COP Oakhurst Unit.To put into perspective the kind of devotion and spirit Newman and her fellow COPs share, Sheriff Anderson points out that each volunteer is only required to serve a minimum of 8 hours a month. In Newman’s case, that would have added up to 96 hours.
“Last year, Madera County Sheriff’s Citizens on Patrol clocked almost 9,000 hours,” says Anderson. That might seem extraordinary to some, he says, but not to this team of zealous citizen volunteers.
“They are our much needed second set of eyes and ears,” he says. “We could not do what we do without them.”
COPs patrol neighborhoods throughout the entire county, conduct house checks for citizens while on vacation, and are routinely called upon to assist in Search & Rescue missions and handle traffic control during criminal investigations.
They are trained as emergency first responders, and many are FEMA certified, says the Sheriff. Most recently they were recruited to handle welfare checks for the newly created Elder Orphans program.
For more than a decade, Sheriff Anderson has hosted an annual appreciation dinner for these citizen volunteers, calling them an essential part of law enforcement.
What is also noteworthy about Citizens On Patrol is that the entire program is totally funded by the volunteers themselves – that includes training, uniforms, and maintenance of their fleet of vehicles.
The COP Unit is comprised of three essential teams – the foothills of Eastern Madera County, and the Eastern and Western parts of the Valley floor. They patrol Bass Lake, North Fork, Oakhurst, Raymond, O’Neals, Coarsegold, Ahwahnee, Madera Ranchos, Madera Acres, Chowchilla and Firebaugh.
While each is assigned to a specific beat, they are not tied to a single area.
“If there’s a call out, regardless of where it is, they show up without question or hesitation,” says Anderson.
Nearly 40 COP Volunteers were honored at this year’s appreciation banquet, held on Saturday, Apr. 20, at the Masonic Hall in Oakhurst.
To find out more about Citizens On Patrol, please contact Community Service Officer Joann Evans at 559-675-7770.