Volunteer patrol saves Surprise PD $800,000 a year - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Volunteer patrol saves Surprise PD $800,000 a year, frees up officers

SURPRISE, AZ (CBS5) -

The city of Surprise is recruiting volunteers to fill about 15 positions on their Citizen Patrol; think of it like an unarmed posse for a city instead of the county.

There are 50 or so volunteers in this group, and they take care of the less than glamorous parts of law enforcement, like traffic control and vehicle maintenance, to free up officers in this growing city.

Instead of sitting on a golf course, Jim Gearns, a former aviation supply manager, chooses to spend his retirement at the Surprise Police Department.

"I've watched the officers on our streets, the way they work, the way they handle situations, and I just wanted to be apart of it," Gearns said.

Gearns is now the commander of the Citizen Patrol organization, which started in 1997. The group, mostly made up of retirees, helps with traffic control, parking citations, crime scene security and much more.

"We do a lot of training on how to issue citations, we do a lot of training on how to talk to people, de-escalate situations," Gearns said.

The volunteers have to pass a background check and lie detector test. They don't carry weapons, but they do carry pepper spray. And while they walk the walk and talk the talk, don't expect to see their flashing lights in your rearview mirror anytime soon.

"We do not have any arrest powers, we have no more authority than any private citizen has," Gearns said.

"Commander Jim Gearns puts anywhere from 30 to 40 hours a week in for free," said Sgt. Mike Donovan with the Surprise Police Department. "Some call that crazy, but I call that dedicated."

The department also calls it a money saver. They are the model for other similar programs across the country and right here in the Valley.

"They saved us, last year alone, over $800,000," Donovan said. "They have some of the same pressures we in law enforcement have because they're part of the law enforcement family."

Surprise police said thanks to their volunteers, their officers can now focus more on crime prevention. Nearly six years after joining the citizen patrol, Gearns said he'd choose his patrol car over a golf cart any day.

"Citizens have to support their communities and make their communities better," Gearns said. Wednesday, they are holding a recruitment event for new volunteers. For more information, visit: http://www.surpriseaz.gov/index.aspx?NID=1108.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • East Texas NewsMore>>

  • Defense questions investigator in third day of Henderson trial

    Defense questions investigator in third day of Henderson trial

    Friday, September 22 2017 7:19 PM EDT2017-09-22 23:19:49 GMT
    James Henderson's defense attorney, Stanley Sokolowski, started off the third day of court by questioning the state's witness, Investigator Bill Rulland. The cross examination lasted most of the morning and even a little into the afternoon. According to Investigator Michael Molnes, with the Houston County Sheriff's Office, Sokolowski attempted to discredit Brenna Theuer's witness testimony, as well as testimony from Robert Mobley.  The trial is expected to head into closing arg...More >>
    James Henderson's defense attorney, Stanley Sokolowski, started off the third day of court by questioning the state's witness, Investigator Bill Rulland. The cross examination lasted most of the morning and even a little into the afternoon. According to Investigator Michael Molnes, with the Houston County Sheriff's Office, Sokolowski attempted to discredit Brenna Theuer's witness testimony, as well as testimony from Robert Mobley.  The trial is expected to head into closing arg...More >>
  • Tar-covered tires stick to parking lot of Lufkin tire shop

    Tar-covered tires stick to parking lot of Lufkin tire shop

    Friday, September 22 2017 7:09 PM EDT2017-09-22 23:09:01 GMT
    More than a few tar-covered tires are hanging on to the parking lot of a Lufkin tire shop.  On August 31, newly laid asphalt on Loop 287 started sticking to tires of those driving, leaving many of the cars un-driveable. As of Friday, the Texas Department of Transportation hadn't come out with an official cause for the incident, but that hasn't stopped over 600 people from filing claims with them. Copyright 2017 KTRE. All rights reserved.More >>
    More than a few tar-covered tires are hanging on to the parking lot of a Lufkin tire shop.  On August 31, newly laid asphalt on Loop 287 started sticking to tires of those driving, leaving many of the cars un-driveable. As of Friday, the Texas Department of Transportation hadn't come out with an official cause for the incident, but that hasn't stopped over 600 people from filing claims with them. Copyright 2017 KTRE. All rights reserved.More >>
  • Trinity County traffic stop results in 2 felony drugs arrests. seizure of weed, codiene, other drugs

    Trinity County traffic stop results in 2 felony drugs arrests. seizure of weed, codiene, other drugs

    Friday, September 22 2017 6:19 PM EDT2017-09-22 22:19:50 GMT

    Deputies with the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office made two felony drug arrests and seized marijuana, Prometh VC with codeine, hydrocodone, Alprazolam, and ecstasy after a traffic stop near the intersection of Robb and Jefferson streets late Tuesday night.

    More >>

    Deputies with the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office made two felony drug arrests and seized marijuana, Prometh VC with codeine, hydrocodone, Alprazolam, and ecstasy after a traffic stop near the intersection of Robb and Jefferson streets late Tuesday night.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly