MADERA COUNTY – Sheriff John Anderson announced today that the Sheriff’s Office is accepting applications for the department’s Citizen on Patrol (COP) unit.
Next week the Madera County Sheriff’s Office will hold two introductory meetings for citizens interested in joining the nationally recognized volunteer organization.
– Wednesday, Oct. 1, at the Madera Sheriff’s Substation in Oakhurst, 48267 Liberty Drive in Oakhurst, at 6 p.m.
– Thursday, Oct. 2, at the Madera County Sheriff’s Annex, 28281 Avenue 14 in Madera at 6 p.m.
The COP concept started in 1999, with one unmarked car and a couple of volunteers. More than a decade later, that one unit has grown into an entire fleet of marked cars.
Serving on Citizens On Patrol is strictly voluntary. Members not only donate their time but their purse strings to finance critical training and uniforms. Every member serves the organization patrolling their designated beats in a COP marked patrol unit.
COP volunteers can be seen routinely patrolling areas that include both sides of the valley floor, and in the mountain communities of Oakhurst, North Fork, Coarsegold and Bass Lake.
They not only patrol neighborhoods throughout the entire county, they also conduct house checks for citizens while on vacation. Madera County Sheriff’s COPs are routinely called upon to assist in Search & Rescue missions and man traffic control during criminal investigations. They are trained as first emergency responders, and many are FEMA certified. Most recently, citizens could see COP volunteers staffing roadblocks during both the Junction and Courtney Fires.
COP volunteers also handle welfare checks for the department’s newly created Elder Orphans program.
Having garnered a number of statewide awards since its inception, Sheriff Anderson says the COP program is considered one of the most successful volunteer organizations in the nation.
“While our deputies must patrol nearly 3,000 square miles of Madera County, our COP volunteers focus on their specific neighborhoods and streets. They are truly our department’s second set of eyes and ears. They know their neighbors and their communities better than anyone, which explains why these volunteers are considered so invaluable.”
You must be at least 18 years of age to join. Anyone interested in learning more about the program is urged to attend one of next week’s scheduled recruitment meetings. Interested volunteers can also call CSO Jo Ann Evans 559-642-3201.
For more information about the COPs program, log on to the Madera County Sheriff’s web site at http://www.madera-county.com/sheriff/ and click on Community Outreach.