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Now browsing: Hometown News > Opinion > Brevard County

Volunteering to help protect our citizens
Rating: 2.25 / 5 (12 votes)  
Posted: 2013 May 03 - 06:37

As Sheriff, I'm asked daily about the amazing resources of the Brevard County Sheriff's Office and how efficiently and effectively they are managed to accomplish our important mission. Of all the questions asked, this is the easiest to answer. Most believe our important and impacting resources are the equipment, such as helicopters, vehicles, boats and specialized computer software. Actually, the most amazing resource we have is the nearly 1,400 men and women who proudly support our agency. Their abilities, innovation, dedication and commitment to protecting our community have made the Sheriff's Office one of the most respected law enforcement agencies in the country. Even more impressive is the fact that almost 200 are volunteers that collectively work thousands of hours each year to help further the mission.

Our volunteers bring valued life experience and expertise, serving in various assignments throughout the agency. They work countless hours serving the citizens of Brevard County without any compensation other than the pride in accomplishment of a job well done. In fact, some of our volunteers contribute as many as 1,000 hours annually in various roles of support. Currently the Sheriff's Office utilizes volunteers to facilitate our Reserve Deputy, Citizens On Patrol (C.O.P.), Chaplains and Faith Based Programs. It is almost impossible to detail the number of valued services our volunteers provide for our agency and community on a daily basis to help keep our communities safe.

One of the most visible volunteer programs that makes this agency so successful is our reserve deputies. Reserve deputies are certified law enforcement officers who have attended either a Law Enforcement Academy or a Reserve Academy that allows them to assist our agency as a deputy sheriff in law enforcement service roles. The members of this unit are utilized in various capacities, such as assisting with special events, traffic, DUI enforcement, aviation unit assignments, agriculture and marine operations, investigative assistance, sex offender verifications and patrol assignments. The reserve deputies are comprised of doctors, attorneys, dentists, county employees, business owners, retired military, and retired law enforcement officers, who enjoy serving and protecting our community. In fact, the members of this unit not only work the various details for free, but have paid for their own training and background clearances. I once heard that volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart. Currently, the unit has approximately 80 members, but is always seeking new applicants who are eager to assist with the core mission of the agency. Within the next month, we will formerly introduce you to our new Mounted Patrol Volunteer Unit. This group of volunteers and their horses will assist at various events and activities to include searching for missing persons.

Another amazing volunteer program is our Citizens On Patrol (C.O.P.). These volunteers serve in many capacities, such as crime prevention and provide significant operational assistance. These important members routinely patrol your neighborhoods and attend homeowners association meetings to ensure our citizens are safe. They provide valuable crime prevention information and support our precincts through various assignments, always willing to take on any task. Our C.O.P. Unit is a tremendous asset to our agency that creates a personal relationship and partnership between our citizens and agency. Their desire to assist is one of the driving forces behind the success of our volunteer efforts.

A pilot volunteer program for students was recently implemented to assist in the attainment of community service hours required for Bright Futures Scholarship consideration. This provides students an opportunity to volunteer hours needed to meet the scholarship criteria, while gaining a unique perspective of the inner-workings of the Brevard County Sheriff's Office.

These programs remind me of a famous quote, "Volunteers are not paid... not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless." I am so proud of the tremendous cast of employees and volunteers that make your Sheriff's Office so special. I truly can't thank each enough for their service and commitment to our agency and the citizens of Brevard County.

If you would like to participate as a volunteer or need additional information regarding our volunteer programs, please contact our human resources office at (321) 264-5212.

Wayne Ivey is the Sheriff of Brevard County.

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