Volunteers extend sheriff’s office reach | RecordCourier.com

Volunteers extend sheriff’s office reach

Citizens Patrol member Paul Howard.

Chances are if you've watched the Pony Express re-ride, or any of the half-dozen runs conducted by the sheriff's office during the course of the year, you've seen Douglas County Citizen's Patrol riding herd.

But you might not have seen them conducting one of 800 vacation checks during the year, or writing up reports, or even checking vehicle identification numbers, though those are all services they perform.

Patrol member Stan Kapler said the volunteers save the county $800,000 a year, and save deputies for more immediate calls.

Douglas County's citizen's patrol also enforces handicapped parking violations, deals with abandoned vehicles and places the radar trailer.

Kapler said that in the 15 years the patrol has been doing checks on homes while owners are on vacation, none have been burglarized.

Members of the Citizen's Patrol also operate Douglas County's substations, where they help residents looking for assistance. They also handle dog licensing and bicycle registration.

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They offer the Care Trak service to families whose relatives might wander off due to Alzheimer's or dementia.

Care Trak gives the sheriff's office a tool to locate family members quickly.

The sheriff's office volunteer program has been in operation since 1996.

To volunteer, contact the Douglas County Administrative Sergeant at 782-9931.

Volunteers don't require any previous experience, and are trained by the sheriff's office.

Volunteers generally put in a four-hour shift a week, and may work special events.