Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Beaumont's Citizen Volunteer Patrol

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. “

Close ties

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

Monday, July 9, 2012

VIBE program

Rewards for hometown volunteers
You can feel the “good vibes” in Beaumont, where a new volunteer rewards program is taking public service to a new level.
As a city volunteer, you can give back to your hometown, learn about local government, and even receive credit for your civic involvement. The program is called Volunteering in Beaumont is Excellent (VIBE).
Based on a $10-an-hour pay scale, volunteers will receive 2 percent back on their time. So if you volunteer for 100 hours, that would be worth $20. While there will be no cash payments, money will be deducted from your sewer or trash bill, or you can receive a gift card at a local business.
The importance of giving back to your community has long been recognized. Some call volunteerism the “ultimate exercise in democracy where you vote everyday about the kind of community you want to live in.”
Recently, several residents stopped by the Beaumont Civic Center to learn about this unique public service opportunity. Getting started is as simple as filling out an application, sitting in an interview with city staff to find out about your interests, and passing a basic background check.
The opportunities are endless. You could help out seniors at Albert A. Chatigny Sr. Community Recreation Center. You could ride city buses as a volunteer and tell passengers about Beaumont Transit’s many services; or maybe you would enjoy mentoring children in one of Beaumont’s many youth programs. Or, maybe becoming the eyes and ears of your hometown police department intrigues you. If so, you might want to consider the Citizen Volunteer Program, Police Explorers or even the police chaplain program.
The Police Department is overseeing the volunteer rewards program, which won City Council approval in February. Applications are now available at the police station, City Hall and the Chatigny Center. Application forms will soon be available online on the city’s website: www.BeaumontCares.com For further information, please call 951-769-8520.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Former Mayor Brown's Legacy

Making a lasting imprint on Beaumont’s legacy of giving 

During the hard times of the Great Depression, Orlie and Daisy Mae Brown lifted up the downtrodden.
Hobos riding the rails would stop off in Beaumont and head for their house, which was known as a place where the homeless and hungry could get a meal.
Orlie was a kindly gentleman with a booming laugh who often had a pot of chili cooking on the stove. Daisy Mae made sandwiches on homemade, fresh bread just out of the oven.
When a train whistle sounded in small-town Beaumont, Orlie and Daisy Mae had supper ready for those knocking on the door. The Browns welcomed those who trudged from the train to their home carrying “bindles” over their shoulders. (A bindle was stick tied at one end with a cloth or blanket for holding a hobo’s worldly possessions, just as we’ve seen those iconic black-and-white photographs from the 1930s). This was a time in Beaumont when men worked for 25 cents an hour and goods were bartered.
On holidays, the couple would invite people to dinner at their home at Beaumont Avenue and Tenth Street if they were alone or down on their luck. Orlie Brown would find work for those struggling to make ends meet and give haircuts to men who couldn’t afford a barber while looking for work.
“It was just who they were,” said their granddaughter, Donna Monroe, 56. “They were the type of people who reached out and helped others.”
Heading west

In 1925, the couple left St. Francis, Kansas, and started a new life in Beaumont. As a contractor, Orlie Brown built the United Presbyterian Church in Beaumont and went on to serve as mayor of his new hometown in 1941. Daisy Mae Brown loved to bake cherry pies and enter them in contests at the Cherry Festival. The couple had seven children.
Now, decades after their passing, Monroe still cherishes the kindness and compassion of her grandparents. At home, she proudly displays Orlie Brown’s old-fashioned desk, his colored pencil drawing of a hobo, and the Burpee Aristocrat Cooker for making chili. There are also pictures on the desk of her grandfather looking jaunty in his bow tie and her grandmother looking elegant in a fur coat around her shoulders.

A spirit of giving

Back in those days, the hobos left an “X” marked in a circle on the pepper tree outside the Browns house. It was a code that let the downtrodden know that this was a place where there would always be a meal waiting for anyone in need. Generations have passed since then, but the Browns compassionate nature left the kind of imprint that has been part of Beaumont’s legacy of giving for the past century.