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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
540-483-5113
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Franklin County Sheriff’s Office launches COPS program
Citizen volunteers are trained to assist deputies
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Courtesy Photo: Franklin County Sheriff Bill Overton (center) poses with eight of the 10 members of the new COPS program. These community volunteers will assist the sheriff’s office with traffic control, funeral escorts, motorist assistance and other duties.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A new program will allow citizens to assist the Franklin County Sheriff's Office with duties that do not necessarily require a sworn deputy to perform.

The Citizens on Patrol (COPS) program is the second phase of the Sheriff's Citizen Academy.

Citizens are eligible for this auxiliary program by completing the Sheriff's Citizen Academy and the COPS training sessions.

These citizens are non-sworn, unarmed volunteers who will be an extra set of eyes and ears in the community as they patrol residential neighborhoods and elementary schools, according to Sheriff Bill Overton.

Their specific duties as they work in pairs will include vacation and business checks, car unlocks, motorist assistance, traffic control, funeral escorts, RADAR trailer deployment, Project Lifesaver and visitation at the jail.

"Upon taking office in 2012, I had a vision of what I wanted this program to look like and what goals I wanted to accomplish through the program," Overton said. "I'm thrilled to see Citizens on Patrol in Franklin County as an official part of our organization."

"Policing a community the size of Franklin County with our current allocated resources is a daunting task," Overton added. "Therefore, we must be creative in our efforts to accomplish the task before us, and both the Sheriff's Citizen Academy and Citizens on Patrol will help us in our efforts. We are fortunate to have individuals who have an interest in community service and bring their own work experiences and knowledge to assist our organization."

These volunteers will drive a white Chevy Impala that has the Citizens on Patrol markings. Their uniforms consist of a white polo shirt with sheriff's office patches, black pants and boots.

Currently, there are 10 volunteers in the COPS program -- Dick Barnello, David Burgess, Roger Hilfer, Sherman Mullins, John Mushko, Dana Newton, Greg Tornatore, Ted Trexler, Gerald Vassar and Dixie Wood.

The sheriff's office is currently planning for the fall session of the Citizen's Academy. For more information, contact Capt. Mark Torbert at 483-3005 or email mtorbert@franklincountyva.org.

 
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