Police Department volunteers protect our community
They serve as the “eyes and ears” for Beaumont—and they’re worth a million dollars.
Each year, the Citizen Volunteer Patrol program donates more than 10,000 hours of community service to our hometown. You’ve probably spotted them directing traffic, checking abandoned homes, and cruising through neighborhoods in their specially-marked cars. As volunteers for the Beaumont Police Department, they receive extensive training about being good observers. When they spot something amiss, they notify police dispatchers. Some also work inside the Police Department entering data into the computer, taking fingerprints and photographs and doing clerical work.
“Beaumont is very fortunate and honored to have so many dedicated citizen patrol volunteers,” said Police Chief Frank Coe. “They are part of our law enforcement family, and we all work together to protect the public.”
Tradition of service
The volunteer program began in 1994 when only a handful of officers patrolled Beaumont. The city needed a helping hand, and the Citizen Volunteer Patrol was born. Today, the program has 25 volunteers, including some who donate a hundred hours or more a month to their community.
You’ll see them on duty this summer at Stewart Park helping the public and police officers during the concert series. You might have spotted them last March fanned out across the city directing traffic at intersections during the Beaumont Road Race, which is part of the Redlands Bicycle Classic. The Citizen Volunteer Program allows more police officers to work their regular patrols and keep us all safe.
Volunteers take part in a 10-week training course at the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Academy. They learn about law enforcement procedures, take a driving course, and study everything from gangs to CPR. They fill out a city application and undergo a background check. Because Code Compliance and Animal Care are part of the Beaumont Police Department, citizen volunteers may also work in those areas.
Citizen Volunteer Patrol Commander George Diggs has been volunteering since 2008. The retired plant maintenance supervisor puts in up to 130 hours a month.
“I believe in keeping busy and serving the community and its residents,” Diggs said. “
The volunteers and Beaumont police officers share a deep bond and a close working relationship nurtured over many years. They often ride together, work closely at crime scenes, and honor each other’s service. At an annual volunteer dinner, the cops cook up and serve a meal for the volunteers and their spouses.
“Officers will often say, `We really appreciate what you do—you’re part of the family,’” Diggs said. “That means a lot.”
Volunteers come from all backgrounds. Some volunteers in their twenties are checking out a career in law enforcement. Others are retired police officers who still want to be involved in public safety.
”I’m impressed with the professionalism of the officers that I’ve met with this Department,” said Dennis Gray, who retired from law enforcement after a 34-year career and has been a volunteer for about a year. “I’m also impressed with the volunteers, their array of experience, their dedication, and how much they give back to the community.”
Gray spent 27 years with the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department, and also worked as a police officer in Banning and Perris.
So the next time you see one of our Citizen Volunteer Patrol members on duty, say hello, thank them for their service, and consider becoming a volunteer yourself. Applications are available at the Beaumont Police Department, the Beaumont Civic Center, and the Albert A. Chatigny Sr. Community Recreation Center and also online at www.BeaumontCares.com