Riverside County Sheriff’s Department: Offering a world of opportunities for citizens to serve

According to Riverside County Sheriff’s officials, public safety is everybody’s business and the department provides citizens with countless volunteer opportunities to serve their community.

Riverside Sheriff’s Lieutenant John Salisbury presents volunteer Hal Gounder with his 10 year volunteer service pin, following last month’s Volunteer Appreciation week. RSO photo

During last month’s Volunteer Appreciation week, sheriff’s officials from all over the county showed their volunteers appreciation in many ways, including banquets, luncheons, presenthttps://riversidecountynewssource.org/2017/05/06/riverside-county…itizens-to-serve/ations, gifts and in social media posts.

Officials at the department’s Hemet/Valle Vista Sheriff’s and San Jacinto Police Stations were among those that praised the efforts of the volunteers, thanking them for their hard work and dedication.

“Our volunteers assist the San Jacinto Police Department with DUI checkpoints, special events, critical incidents, clerical, logistics and citizen’s patrol,” officials said in one recent Facebook post. “We are very proud and so thankful for all of the hard work our volunteers do. We appreciate each and every one of (them).”

Covering more than 7,200 square miles and at roughly 180 miles wide – with large, incorporated cities and smaller, more rural, unincorporated communities – Riverside County has terrain varying from desert landscapes, to woodland areas, to lakes and rivers as well as rocky, mountainous terrain.

Each individual community’s needs are different in terms of population, surroundings and lifestyle. This diversity ensures almost no end to the volunteer opportunities available through the sheriff’s department.

“Volunteers have always played a key role in law enforcement”

San Jacinto PD Volunteers were called to assist with traffic control during a recent murder investigation. Miguel Shannon/Epicenter News photo

On the department’s website, Riverside County Sheriff’s officials explain, “Volunteers have always played a key role in law enforcement.”

“By involvement in their community, citizens may determine the character of life at their own doorstep,” officials explained.

Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff echoed that sentiment, saying on the department’s website, “The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department welcomes volunteer service.”

“As the Sheriff of Riverside County, I fully believe in the value of the Citizen Volunteer Program and encourage you to join our law enforcement team,” Sniff said. “There are many avenues available to you to fulfill this goal of making Riverside County a better and safer place to live.”

With volunteer opportunities covering a variety of potential interests and personal abilities, each of the sheriff’s department’s ten patrol stations and five correctional facilities offers unique ways for volunteers to serve their communities. The department even provides volunteer opportunities for juveniles, in the form of Law Enforcement Exploring.

“Volunteers are essentially the ‘eyes and ears’ in their community”

Volunteers from the Perris Police Station recently assisted during a fatal vehicle collision investigation. William Hayes/Epicenter News photo

Regardless of a person’s individual abilities, age, experience, interest or skills, the sheriff’s department offers a way for just about everyone to serve their community as volunteers.

Riverside County Sheriff volunteers can work a variety of assignments including clerical support, logistics, crime prevention, investigations, accounting, administrative duties, vehicle maintenance, data entry and many others.

For those who are interested in playing a more pro-active role in their communities, the department has volunteer opportunities including citizen’s patrols, the department’s Reserve Deputy Program and Neighborhood Watch programs.

For those with more specialized skills or interests the department offers volunteer opportunities with the Mounted Posse, Chaplain Corps, Dive Team and Search and Rescue Teams.

The department offers free training to all Riverside County Sheriff’s volunteers at the Sheriff’s Ben Clark Training Center and depending on assignment, volunteer’s hours can be flexible and scheduled around personal availability.

Members of the all-volunteer Idyllwild Mountain Community Patrol meet to discuss recent activity in the area. RSO photo

Here are some ways citizens might choose to volunteer:

Search and Rescue

Volunteer members of the Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit practice their mountain rescue techniques during a recent training activity. RSO photo

Riverside County’s search and rescue teams are an “essential component” of the Sheriff’s Department. They are primarily responsible for all search and rescue missions involving lost or stranded persons within Riverside County.

Members can also be requested under the California Mutual Aid System to respond to other counties for search requests or during times of natural disasters.

“Riverside County Search and Rescue team members are highly trained for their environments,” officials explained. They can be called into action at a moment’s notice, at any time of the day or night.

Search and rescue volunteers meet monthly at various locations throughout the county and often train with the Riverside County Aviation Team regarding hoist training for technical rescue operations.

Volunteer search and rescue opportunities include Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit, Desert Search and Rescue, Blythe Search and Rescue Assist and Riverside County Search Dogs.

No prior experience or training is required to join a search and rescue team, according to officials; however, having a willingness to learn and improve your outdoor skills and being in good physical condition are highly recommended.

Reserve Deputy

Reserve deputies go through the same rigorous background investigations process and attend the same sheriff’s academy as their full-time partners.

With full peace officer powers while on duty, Riverside County reserve deputies serve their community in a special way, “providing the sheriff’s department with additional law enforcement resources to better serve residents throughout the county,” according to officials.

Reserve Deputy Sheriff assignments include field operations, correctional operations and other various special programs.

Since reserve deputies have the same powers of arrest as regular, full-time deputies, they are required to meet the same hiring standards as full-time deputies. They also undergo the same training at the sheriff’s academy as their full-time partners.

In addition to offering a tangible way to serve the community, the Reserve Deputy Program also provides the opportunity for personal growth, promotability and advancement as well as continuing education.

Mounted Posse

Members of the The Hemet Sheriff’s Station’s Mounted Posse. RSO photo

The Sheriff’s Mounted Posse is a non-profit group of volunteers who play a very important role in public relations for the department.

Posse members assist with patrol, search and rescue, public relations, charity events, crowd control, parade detail and high-visibility, extra-patrol at special events such as Hemet’s Ramona Pageant, Coachella Fest, Temecula’s Balloon and Wine Festival, the county’s Farmer’s Fair and at malls during holidays.

There are currently seven Mounted Posse Troops throughout the county, including the Cabazon, Hemet, Indio, Jurupa Valley, Lake Elsinore, Perris and the Southwest Stations.

The troops are comprised of more than 100 members who use their personal horses for official Sheriff’s duties.

Not all members of the mounted posse are riding members, according to sheriff’s officials, who explained many troops welcome volunteers who dedicate their time as “ground support.” These individuals help with ensuring safety of the crowds and public who wish to interact with the posse horses and riders, provide clean up detail and provide other necessary duties.

Police Explorer Scouts

A Police Explorer assists during an official investigation. RSO photo

Police Explorer Scouts is a program administered by the Boy Scouts of America that gives young people, between 14 to 21-years-old, a “hands-on look at what a career in law enforcement is really like” and offers “a great start to a law enforcement career,” according to sheriff officials.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has proudly supported an active Explorer Post Program for youth for more than 30 years.

Police Explorer Scouts serve their community in various ways such as helping with crowd and traffic control during special events, crime prevention programs, community outreach events and more.

Once they are fully qualified, Explorers can even interact directly with officials and the citizens they serve during ride-alongs with uniformed patrol deputies. During ride-alongs, the Explorers “become an extra set of eyes and ears for the officers and assist them on various calls,” officials explained.

Depending on the post, Explorers meet weekly or bi-weekly to discuss Explorer business, activities, assignments and upcoming events.

Explorers Scouts and representatives from the department’s Palm Desert Station. RSO photo

Anyone interested in volunteering with the sheriff’s department or who wants to know more about available volunteer positions is encouraged to visit the Riverside County Sheriff’s website or contact their local Volunteer Coordinator.

Click here for full list of sheriff’s stations and Volunteer Coordinator’s phone numbers.


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

trevor main

Trevor Montgomery runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News and Anza Valley Outlook and also writes for Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg and breaking his back in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 26 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 12 – soon to be 13 – grandchildren.


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