|Members of the volunteer PCSO Search and Rescue team prepare for a rescue mission in the Superstition Mountains.|
FLORENCE, Ariz. – Pinal County Sheriff Paul Bebeu is ready to grow the PCSO volunteer program and he wants you to join him.
On Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm at The Views At Superstition, 6900 East Highway 60, Suite 204, Gold Canyon, AZ 85118, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu and PCSO Lt. Tamatha Villar will talk about PCSO accomplishments, challenges, and a vision forward within Pinal County and the Gold Canyon area. A question and answer session will follow.
Sheriff Babeu stated, “Three years ago, the volunteer program at PCSO was nowhere what it is today. Thanks to selfless citizens who’ve been inspired to commit their time and effort to a greater cause, we’ve taken our Posse, Youth Explorers Program and Search & Rescue - just to name a few - to new heights; but we’re not done. I ask each of you to seriously consider joining PCSO through this evolving program. I know there’s an area where each person could fit donating some time from their busy lives – and they’ll have a blast while doing it!”
The Sheriff and Lt. Villar will also outline and describe the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office volunteer programs, with special emphasis on the all-volunteer Sheriff’s Posse group. One goal is to recruit Posse volunteers for the next Posse Academy that is scheduled to start in March 2012. Posse members are highly trained; in fact, they receive training similar to that of the Sheriff’s deputies. They perform many of the same tasks as deputies, including transporting individuals, assisting the deputies on calls, and working with the youth Explorers, a program for teens.
|PCSO Posse members help work an accident scene in San Tan Valley.|
Lt. Villar, who heads the Posse, recently spoke about the important role volunteers play within the Sheriff’s Office. The need for volunteers has risen dramatically with the unprecedented population growth of Pinal County, she said. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between April 1, 2000 and July 1, 2009, the county grew by 87.9%, compared to the statewide population growth of 28.6% during that same period.
Pinal is also a large county, 5,385 square miles, roughly the size of Connecticut, and includes many largely rural areas. She noted that the growing population in the county, particularly in the central and eastern sections, has led to an increasing need for volunteers to support all divisions within the Sheriff’s Office.
Such growth naturally leads to increasing calls to the Sheriff’s Office. Lt. Villar said, “Volunteers have become an essential resource for our county.” Professionals and interested citizens from all backgrounds are great candidates for the volunteer positions, she said. Although there is an emphasis on finding recruits for the Sheriff’s Posse, many other volunteer opportunities abound. Another area with growing need is the Victims Services Unit and the Chaplains Unit. After thorough training, these volunteers go out to console, counsel, and help crime victims or people experiencing a crisis or traumatic incident. Other volunteer opportunities include the I.D. Unit, Professional Volunteers, Citizens On Patrol (COPS), youth Explorers, the Mounted Unit, the Search and Rescue Unit, and Administrative Volunteers.
“A rigorous course of training awaits potential Posse members,” Lt. Villar said. Posse training mirrors the training that fully certified deputies and reserve deputies undergo, including an extensive background check. Among past and current volunteers are retired professionals, including doctors, attorneys, teachers, and business owners. Sheriff Babeu and Lt. Villar hope to recruit 30 to 40 people who will attend the Posse Academy scheduled to begin in March.
Training is extensive, and takes about 3 to 5 months of classes and onsite and offsite training to prepare for the work ahead. Lt. Villar also noted that many assignments for the Sheriff’s Posse include patrols in Gold Canyon, Apache Junction, and surrounding areas.
Sheriff Babeu will detail the vital role community support and involvement play in Pinal County law enforcement.
For more information about the afternoon briefing and presentation on February 8, and the volunteer programs, please call (520) 866-5295. Information can also be found at www.pinaljobs.com. For more detailed directions to the February 8 event, see the website, www.theviewsatsuperstition.com