Police Increasing Volunteer Force

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The Payson Police Department wants to get the word out that it's looking for more volunteers in time for the training in September.

The department now has 50 volunteers that work in different capacities and have varied levels of training.

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The Payson Police Department is looking for more volunteers to assist with everything from fingerprinting to patrolling neighborhoods. Volunteer Bruce VanCamp worked the Rodeo Dance on Main Street, assisting police with traffic control.

"For this budget year, we were allowed to add additional volunteers to our volunteer program, so we anticipate increasing the size of our volunteer program from 50 to 75," Lt. Don Engler said. "So we have 25 positions open in the volunteer program."

Those who wish to volunteer, can choose to perform administrative tasks or be out in the field. Volunteers in the administrative side work for Support Services Manager Della Bradley.

"The receptionists at the front desk are volunteers, and they've been taught finger printing," Bradley said. "When people request copies of police reports, they will help with that."

Administrative volunteers also help out with the department's PATH program. The PATH program allows police to check on the homebound daily.

"We call them every Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. and make sure they are OK," Bradley said. "If they don't answer, a volunteer patrol officer or a regular officer will go and check on their welfare."

There are now more than 30 people signed up in the PATH program.

Clerical volunteers are required to volunteer a minimum of four hours a month. Receptionists must volunteer nine hours per month.

Those more interested in being out in the community can apply for the patrol division.

"In the patrol division, we have what's called a Patrol 1 and a Patrol 2 position," Engler said. "Patrol 1 entails traffic control at different events. They do vacation home checks and funeral escorts. They also have the ability to patrol and they're taught some patrol procedures, things they can be looking for while they are out patrolling the area.

"The patrol 2 position is more of an enforcement position," he said. "We actually teach the volunteers how to write traffic citations for people who are illegally parked in handicap spaces. We will also have them taking calls that are non-violent in nature such as abandoned vehicles, noise disturbances, found property -- any calls that don't require a certified police officer to handle them. We require that they serve 24 hours per month to be in that role."

The volunteer program allows the department to keep an eye on residential areas.

"One of the goals is to have more police presence in the neighborhoods," Engler said. "We encourage them to be out in the residential areas and being observant and summoning officers if they see something that is out of the ordinary."

Training and requirements are different for each position. Prospective volunteers must fill out the application available at the police station. A background check is done and candidates go through an interview.

"If we get enough applicants over the next month, we plan to start our training session on the 15th of September," Engler said. "Classes usually run 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weeknights."

Bradley said training hours may vary for administrative volunteers. Applications are available at the front desk in the police station.

For more information, call (928) 474-5177.

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