Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Bloomingdale Citizen Patrol volunteer Dwayne Denny, center, is joined by District 4 Major Ronald Hartley (L) and Sheriff David Gee (R) after receiving a special award for his donation of equipment and for the installing cameras in the Bloomingdale Substation. Denny was one of dozens of volunteers recognized during a recent banquet held in their honor.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office(HCSO) hosted a special event by celebrating the fifth anniversary of its Volunteer Citizen Patrol Program during an awards and recognition ceremony banquet held last month at the Falkenburg Jail Assembly room in Brandon.
The event recognized the more than 80 volunteers, and presented some special honors to those with the most service hours – five years of service – and special achievements.
“We wanted to personally thank each and every one of you for the commitment you made and the job that you do for us and for this community,” said HCSO Community Outreach Division Major Sankar Montoute.
Sheriff David Gee also thanked all the volunteers for their hard work, while emphasizing that the program is being recognized statewide.
“I have Sheriffs all over the state calling and asking me about our program as they recognize the great job that a great group of people are doing here,” Gee said. “I always appreciate seeing you working so hard in the community.”
Community Outreach Division Lieutenant Chad Chronister said that HCSO began the Volunteer Citizen Patrol in March of 2007 with just 35 people, covering just two areas of Hillsborough County: Apollo Beach and Westchase.
Since its launch, the volunteers have performed various tasks such as patrol neighborhoods, assist with school crossings, conduct vacation checks and document graffiti, to name a few.
Today the volunteers patrol in five areas with the addition of Bloomingdale, Brandon, FishHawk, Lutz and Westchase has been increased to include Town n Country.
“The program allowed us to utilize the skills of volunteers from within the community as partners in public safety,” Chronister said .
Last year 1,253 patrol shifts has been completed totaling14,253 volunteer hours, which, according to Chronister, does not include events and extra hours. In the past five years, the program covered 5,019 patrol shifts amassing more than 42,000 volunteer hours.
“This allows our deputy sheriffs to be more proactive and investigate crime since our volunteers assist with lower priority calls for service,” he said. “They help ensure public safety and serve as the extra ‘eyes and ears’ for law enforcement.”
One of the first to be recognized during the event was Volunteer Citizen Patrol Coordinator, Lorraine Jordan who has received an award for the Volunteer Citizen Coordinator of the Year from the Florida Police Citizens Academy and Association.
Kathy Samuelsen, who accumulated 468 hours, was awarded for most hours volunteered and working full time, while for most hours volunteered as retired, Ed Roloson with 631 hours under his belt received his award.
District 4 Major Ronald Hartley was also on hand to present the special award to Dwayne Denny for his donation of equipment to the program and for installing cameras in the Bloomingdale Substation.
For more information about the Volunteer Citizen Program, please visit www.hcso.tampa.fl.us.