Volunteers enhance services provided by Larimer County Sheriff's Office

Larimer County Sheriff’s Office volunteer programs made a big impact in 2015. The various groups utilized 387 volunteers who logged 49,471 hours last year. Why is that important to Larimer County residents? Independent Sector rates the value of volunteer time in Colorado (2014) at $25.68 per hour. That means LCSO volunteers provided almost $1.3 million in services at no cost.

When asked, many of these men and women say they volunteer to give back to their communities and many say they want to help those who cannot help themselves. Here is a list of the volunteer programs and how they assist your sheriff’s office by enhancing the level of services provided to you.

• The Reserve Program is a volunteer unit of the Operation Services Division and augments the full time deputies in the jail, transportation, patrol and investigations. There are currently 27 reserve deputies who commit to volunteer at least 20 hours per month. In 2015, the reserve deputies logged 9,071 hours performing a wide variety of duties: patrol, crime scene security, community events, investigations, jail, transportation, hospital security and special events. Reserve deputy applicants go through the same hiring process as full time deputies and are required to attend the reserve academy. More information about the reserve deputy program is available at bit.ly/1Dr0SA0.

• The Larimer County Jail utilized 213 jail volunteers in 2015. Seven of them have been volunteering at the jail for more than 20 years and one has been volunteering for 31 years. Services provided by jail volunteers include Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, GED tutoring, stress management and various church and Bible study groups. The purpose of these programs is to reduce recidivism. About 3,840 volunteer hours were logged in 2014.

• The Sheriff’s Auxiliary Unit recruits volunteers from the community to bring together law enforcement and citizens in the interest of safety and security in homes, schools, offices, and neighborhoods. The SAU volunteers work in three key areas: crime prevention, community safety, and LCSO administration. They provide training to neighbors on starting Neighborhood Watch programs, attend school and safety events to promote child safety and crime prevention education, organize an annual Christmas event for underprivileged kids and assist with the LCSO Citizens Academy — to name a few. In 2015, the Sheriff’s Auxiliary Unit utilized 12 volunteers who worked 2,816 hours. More information about the SAU is available at bit.ly/1Lu1sFF.

• The Sheriff’s Posse has 24 active members who logged 3,498 volunteer hours in 2015. The Posse provides security for the Larimer County Fair and Rodeo and CSU football games. They assist with search and rescue and in other situations in which deputies on horseback have advantages over those in vehicles or on foot. The Posse delivers presents for Santa Cops and helps with the Annual Sheriff’s Kids Christmas Party. More information about the LCSO Sheriff’s Posse is available at bit.ly/1RDKJiG.

• The Sheriff’s Office Victim Response Team was established to provide services for victims 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These volunteers are provided in-depth and ongoing training to provide support and resources for victims of crime. VRT members provide on-scene assistance, emotional support and information regarding legal rights and assistance. There are currently 28 active volunteers who share on-call duties around the clock. The VRT logged 2,575 volunteer hours in 2015. More information about the LCSO VRT is available at bit.ly/1pmIuqS.

• Larimer County Search and Rescue Inc. incorporated in 1979 as a nonprofit charitable organization. The sheriff is responsible for search and rescue by Colorado State Statute and LCSAR operates under the authority of the sheriff via a memorandum of understanding to provide search and rescue services for Larimer County. In 2015, LCSAR logged 17,324 hours by 40 active members. Those hours include missions, training (in the field and classroom), fund raising and public education events in the community. LCSAR participated in 59 search and rescue missions in 2015. More information is available at larimercountysar.org.

• The Larimer County Dive Rescue Team was founded in 1972. Their primary mission is the rescue and/or recovery of people and property involved in water related incidents. The team is composed of civilians as well as personnel from various emergency response agencies in Larimer County, all of which are volunteers. LCDRT is a private, nonprofit organization that operates under the authority of the Larimer County Sheriff. In 2015, LCDRT had 28 active volunteers who trained in swift water rescue, ice rescue/diving, public safety diver, and logged 5,719 volunteer hours. More information is available at lcdrt.org. Explorers LCSO Explorer Post 909 is designed for youths between the ages of 15 1/2 and 20 years old. The post gives youth the opportunity to learn more about careers in law enforcement. In addition, Post 909 places an emphasis on skills such as leadership, networking, communication and team building. Explorers volunteer their time to assist LCSO staff during training, community events, and community education. They compete in competitions with other posts to sharpen their abilities. In 2015, Explorer Post 909 had 15 active members and logged 4,337 hours. More information about Explorer Post 909 is available at bit.ly/1Lu6HVT.

• Diamond Peaks Ski Patrol is a registration unit of the National Ski Patrol System Inc. and a private nonprofit corporation that provides search and rescue services, including but not limited to snow rescue and evacuation techniques, avalanche search, rescue and recovery techniques, and wilderness safety and avalanche education courses here in Larimer County. DPSP has a memorandum of understanding with the Larimer County. DPSP did not respond to any missions for LCSO in 2015, however they did assist Rocky Mountain National Park and the U.S. Forest Service on rescue missions.

• Emergency Services Support Group is comprised of members that have been part of the Larimer County Dive Rescue Team, Larimer County Search and Rescue Team, Fire Crew or Diamond Peaks Ski Patrol. The Support Group assists Emergency Services on incidents by operating ATVs, snowmobiles, the snow-cat, four wheel drive vehicles and the command van. They help support a mission by delivering food and other logistical items and support during an incident. They accompany ES personnel on calls late at night and/or in bad weather so there is more than one person out on the call. In 2015, the seven members of the group participated in 10 missions, seven trainings, and one safety fair exposition totaling 291 volunteer hours.

Those wishing to be a volunteer must apply with the sheriff’s office and participate in varying levels of interviews, background checks, and training.

Information regarding how to become a volunteer with LCSO can be found at http://larimersheriff.org/site-page/volunteer. A list of volunteer opportunities is available at http://larimersheriff.org/ under the “Inside LCSO” tab.

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