By Tamas Mondovics

In its continued effort to recognize the hard work and volunteer spirit on behalf of their community, as well as to encourage such generous spirit, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Community Outreach Division hosted an appreciation event for members of the Volunteer Citizens Patrol Program.

The event held at the Falkenburg Rd. Jail Assembly Room, located at 520 N Falkenburg Rd., recognized 20 volunteers for five years of service in addition to the highest patrol hour’s award, two of which reached more than a total of 1,100 hours during the past year.

In 2012, District 4 volunteer Ed Roloson logged in 600 hours while volunteer Kathy Samuelsen logged in 500 volunteer hours.

The Volunteer Citizen Patrol Program (VCPP) is based on the concept of utilizing the talents and skills of volunteers from within the local community as partners in public safety.

HCSO spokesperson, Debbie Carter, emphasized that VCPP is now operating in seven areas: Apollo Beach, Bloomingdale, Brandon, Lutz, FishHawk, Westchase and Town n Country with the goal of eventually covering the entire county.

“Our volunteers are doing an excellent job of supporting the department by working numerous hours and assisting the department with a number of proactive “neighborhood watch” programs and non-intervention law enforcement related activities,” said Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Capt., Chad Chronister.

The first Citizen Patrol class of 24 volunteers originated in Apollo Beach in the spring of 2007, and according to Chronister, the department now has close to 100 volunteers who are specially trained by the Sheriff’s Office and have logged more than 150,000 volunteer citizen hours.

Citizen Patrol Volunteers are not law enforcement officers, but are trained on how to spot suspicious criminal activity.  Volunteers receive training in areas such as crime prevention, first aid, traffic control and community policing.

To become a citizen patrol volunteer you must be a U.S. citizen, be 19 years of age or older, possess a valid driver’s license, pass a screening test, complete VCPP training, be willing to attend monthly meetings and be willing to volunteer a minimum of 12 hours per month.

For more information, please call 247-8223.


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