Breathing new life into nearly 40 cold case murders dating back to 1957 is a daunting task for one Volusia County Sheriff's investigator.
That's why the Sheriff's Office decided to tap into a valuable community resource -- retired law enforcement officers willing to help with the investigations, and at no cost to the agency or taxpayers.
Two volunteers were brought on board last year to help establish the Sheriff's Office's cold case homicide squad. So valuable was their assistance that one of the volunteers, retired Volusia County deputy William Maxwell, was named the Sheriff's Office's 2012 volunteer of the year.
Mr. Maxwell was on hand Wednesday, March 27, at The Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach Shores along with 230 other volunteers who were honored at the Sheriff's Office's 17th annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet.
All combined, Sheriff's Office volunteers donated 55,157 hours of labor in the past year. Some of the 2012 highlights were:
Volunteer citizen observers patrolled more than 326,000 miles, acting as an extra set of eyes and ears for deputies to help deter criminal activity. Since the inception of the Sheriff's Office's Citizens Observer Program in 1989, C.O.P. volunteers have patrolled in excess of 6.5 million miles and have fingerprinted more than 33,000 children in Volusia County for parent records.
Victim advocates worked 1,726 cases in 2012 and applied for $117,172 in compensation funds for local crime victims.
Sheriff's Office Chaplains responded to 73 calls for service in 2012.
Sheriff Johnson thanked all of the volunteers for their service, noting the challenging economic climate makes their contributions all the more worthwhile.
Two volunteers -- Richard Dutka and Doug Howe -- were recognized as recipients of the President's Call to Service Award. The award is designed to honor Americans who, through 4,000 or more hours of volunteerism, set an example that inspires others to volunteer service.