The Grass Valley Police are looking for a few good men ” and women ” to bolster its volunteer force, a group that has proven invaluable to the agency, according to police officials.
The department has 10 volunteers, but it needs at least six more to adequately patrol and service its jurisdiction, Grass Valley Police Chief John Foster said.
“Our goal is to have one volunteer for every COPP block,” Foster said. Officers are assigned to a “Community-Oriented Policing Program,” or COPP area, in which officers patrol on foot and connect with residents to address public safety issues. The city is broken up into 16 separate COPP blocks.
Volunteers assist the officers with issuing warnings for abandoned cars, serving subpoenas, directing traffic, crowd control at special events, running paperwork to other law enforcement agencies, foot patrol and speed surveys, said program coordinator Sgt. Doug Hren.
“The work is for someone who really wants to be there,” said two-year volunteer Sunya Hutchison, 53, who received the department’s Volunteer of the Year award last May. “I like being able to give back to the community. It’s so nice to be able to help the officers out and relieve them of some duties so they can go out and prevent crime. It feels good.”
Hutchison and her husband Scot, 58, began serving as volunteers after attending the department’s Citizen’s Academy. The academy is a series of free classes taught by officers and other public safety professionals to better familiarize local citizens with the local criminal justice system.
Hutchison’s father was a social worker, she said, so she was predisposed to volunteer work.
“She’s always bright, bubbly and outgoing,” Foster said.
Hutchison is retired from a series of careers which included work in the Bay Area software industry and some time as a flight attendant for America West Airlines. She now runs a household consisting of two stepsons, nephews and a niece.
Scot Hutchison, who worked for the government at Beale Air Force Base investigating people in high security positions, also seems to be good fit for volunteer police work, Foster said.
“We’re very fortunate to have a husband and wife team,” Foster said. “It’s awesome.”
Most volunteers are retired professionals and bring a wide variety of experience to the work, Hren said.
A background check is performed on all applicants. People interested in volunteering for the Grass Valley Police Department can contact coordinators Sgt. Doug Hren at 477-4600 or Herb Force at 477-5461.
To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail robynm@the union.com or call 477-4236.
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