Newest Volunteers to Start Training
Next Academy Slated for 2013
The Hemet Police Department is set to start its 39th Basic Volunteer Academy in September. The application deadline was August 21st and the department received well over 100 applications from Valley residents wanting to volunteer for the department.
The rise of social media sites, such as Facebook, has moved many more people into volunteering and over-all community awareness. There are some challenges however to this influx. “It’s great and we have received a lot of applications,” says Lieutenant Dean Evans, “but our selection and training process is extensive on purpose. We have to be careful to ensure that all of our prospective volunteers understand that we are looking for those who are in it for the long haul.”
Evans explained the department invests thousands of dollars each year on the volunteer program. “That investment is well worth it, but we have to be cautious. We can’t afford to invest hundreds of dollars on training and outfitting a person who will only be here for a short time or until the catalyst that prompted them to volunteer is no longer happening.”
Sergeant Nate Miller, who oversees the police volunteer program and supervises the volunteers, said that each application is screened carefully. Those that pass the initial screening are scheduled for an interview with three or four current volunteers and the volunteer coordinator. Those who pass the interview process are sent through a background investigation which includes fingerprints being sent for FBI, State, and Department of Justice clearance.
“We have a great group currently and they take a lot of pride in making the cut to being a Hemet PD volunteer”, Miller said, “What we don’t want, and we will not tolerate, are those who are spurred to volunteer out of some sort of vigilante mind-set. As you can imagine, one volunteer with that in mind can, and will, destroy the entire program. We are looking for people who have a genuine desire to give back to the community. For nearly 20 years, we have been very successful in recruiting and retaining that type of person.”
Although the September academy is already filled, Miller said Hemet PD normally conducts one or two volunteer academies each year and assists with setting up Neighborhood Watch programs throughout the year. The next academy will be scheduled for mid-2013. Interested community members can pick up volunteer applications at any of the police department’s three stations or can download one at www.hemetpolice.org then clicking on the Volunteer Program tab. The web-page is filled with information on what the volunteers do and how the program puts volunteers in an area that interests them most and works out for their schedules. The police department is also on Facebook and will post, via both sites, when the next application deadline will be.
On any given day or night, Hemet Police Volunteers can be seen assisting citizens at Hemet PD’s three stations, speaking to civic groups, patrolling neighborhoods, shopping centers & parks, starting Neighborhood Watch programs, performing traffic control at collisions and during natural disasters, babysitting lost children, helping Alzheimer patients, and they have become staples at such events as The Ramona Play, Hemet’s Annual Christmas Parade, Harvest Festival, Veterans Day Celebration, and much, much more.
The Hemet City Council, as well as Police Department Employees, have long recognized our volunteers for their endless dedication to the community. If you would like information on becoming a Hemet Police Department Volunteer, please stop by any of the three stations, or by calling Sergeant Nate Miller at 951 765-2406. Sergeant Miller can also be contacted via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org