Tulare County Sheriff’s Volunteers in Patrol serve as extra eyes and ears in the community and perform duties that don’t require a sworn officer. They deter crime just by their uniformed presence in the community, said Sheriff Mike Boudreaux.
“We don’t know how many times someone was about to do something criminal and changed his mind because a VIP was on patrol in the county,” he said. “We very much appreciate all the hard work they do.”
Those who are interested in becoming a Volunteer in Patrol are encouraged to attend a monthly meeting this Thursday at 6 p.m. in Visalia or July 7 at 6 p.m. in Porterville. Please RSVP so we can meet you by the door.
The Pixley area VIPs meet at 4 p.m. on July 20.
In addition to checking on vacation property and schools, VIPs reach out to the community, paint over graffiti, monitor Project Lifesaver, transport patrol cars, reach out to youth, assist children with court appearances, run errands and help with search and rescue, parades and traffic control.
Typically, VIPs volunteer through a Sheriff’s substation near them. They have an elected board and attend monthly meetings under the supervision of Sheriff’s Office patrol lieutenants.
Each new VIP attends a 40-hour VIP Academy which is held on Saturdays. They also go through a background check.
The Sheriff’s Office relies heavily on volunteers, said Lt. Rob Schimpf, who oversees the VIPs.
“Anyone who wants to volunteer would serve as a vital function to the Sheriff’s Office,” he said.
Visalia: VIPs meet at 6 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of the month, but this month they meet this Thursday at the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, 2404 W. Burrel Ave., Visalia. The next meeting is today, June 30.
Porterville: VIPs meet at 6 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at the Porterville Substation, 379 N. 3rd St. Next meeting is July 7.
Pixley: VIPs meet at 4 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at the Pixley Substation, 161 N. Pine St. The next meeting is July 20.
Cost: Each volunteer is responsible for purchasing a VIP uniform which consists of black pants, white shirt, black shoes and a black jacket with Sheriff’s Office patches on both shoulders.
Info: RSVP to Teresa Douglass, public information officer, at (559) 636-4695.
Fill out form: Print form and fill out. Go to http://www.tularecounty.ca.gov/sheriff/index.cfm/administration/recruitment/volunteer-programs/volunteer-forms/