Suffolk PD seeks volunteers

Published 10:42 pm Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Suffolk Police Department is looking to expand the role of volunteers, both in its internal and external operations, officials have said.

“In this economy, police departments need to expand their volunteer services to accomplish their mission,” Suffolk Chief of Police Thomas Bennett said. “There are many people who wish to volunteer at a local Police Department. They just aren’t sure how to go about it.”

To help interested citizens learn how to become involved, the department will hold an informational meeting at 7 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Suffolk Police Department Sector 2 building, 3903 Bridge Road, for citizens interested in volunteering as part of the Suffolk Police Department’s Auxiliary Officer Unit or in any other volunteer capacity with the organization.

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The auxiliary unit provides staffing support at special events, traffic checkpoints, and in day-to-day operations. The auxiliary program has two different levels, and volunteers have different responsibilities depending on the level they’ve achieved.

The Auxiliary “A” program is a sworn and armed volunteer position requiring applicants to complete a Department of Criminal Justice Services certified academy that lasts 10 months, meeting three nights a week and some Saturdays. In addition, the applicant must complete 350 hours with a field training officer before being certified as a law enforcement officer.

Officers must work a minimum of 16 hours per month or a total of 192 hours per year and must also complete DCJS re-certification training every two years, consisting of 40 hours of in-service training. Officers must also re-qualify on the firing range once a year and must re-certify annually in defensive tactics.

The Auxiliary “B” program is a non-sworn and unarmed volunteer position. The Auxiliary “B” volunteers are utilized as traffic assistance officers. Once accepted into the program, traffic assistance officers are required to attend a 10-hour training course and complete four training ride-alongs.

Traffic assistance officers provide assistance with traffic control at accident scenes and special events, including DUI checkpoints and festivals. They also are trained to assist stranded motorists on Suffolk’s roadways.

Entrance requirements are as follows for both levels of volunteers:

4Must successfully pass a background investigation

4Must successfully pass a polygraph examination

4Must successfully pass a Chief’s interview

Auxiliary Police Officers must also pass a psychological and a medical examination.

A background investigator will be available at the meeting to offer information on required background checks in order to volunteer. Anyone with specialized skills, such as public speaking, training, clerical skills or any other skill that might benefit the Suffolk Police Department, is encouraged to come out to the meeting and find out more about the program.

From January 2000 to the end of August 2012, the officers of the Suffolk Police Auxiliary Unit worked approximately 20,000 volunteer hours serving their community.

For more information on the meeting, call Lieutenant J.D. Buie at 757-514-7999.