For many years, our citizens have supported our daily operations by volunteering in various areas of the Agency. Our Volunteers Services Division has grown significantly, with new programs added to meet the current needs of our community. The Volunteer Services Coordinator oversees nearly 1,100 volunteers in 37 units including the Citizen Observer Patrol (COPS), Neighborhood Crime Watch, Funeral Escort, Homeland Security, Mounted Posse, Lake Watch, Deputy Reserves, Bailiffs, Chaplains, CERT and MERT teams, Clerical and the Foundation Board. In 2017, volunteers logged 86,529 hours, saving the agency and community an estimated 1.9 million dollars, according to the National Points of Light hourly rate. This division also coordinates the Citizens Academy and Partnership (CAP) Program. The 12-week CAP class offers students an opportunity to explore all departments within the Sheriff’s Office and gives citizens access to experienced personnel, our equipment and facilities. The Academy is hosted at multiple locations throughout the year in an effort to serve Marion County’s diverse population.
COPS/Neighborhood Crime Watch
The COPS/ Neighborhood Crime Watch program is intended to serve as additional eyes and ears for the Sheriff and his deputies. It is not intended to replace routine patrol activities of the Sheriff, but to provide the county with additional observation capabilities to reduce crime. The COPS/ Neighborhood Crime Watch program was instituted to restore the security of our neighborhoods, and focus on reducing burglaries and vandalism. This program provides an opportunity for you to take an active role in helping your neighbors and local law enforcement officers keep a watchful eye.
The Funeral Escort Unit provides assistance to local funeral homes by escorting funeral processions to the place of burial. By and through the existence, the Funeral Escort Unit will provide the County with a unique escort service. Funeral Escort volunteers are duly authorized volunteers under the direction and control of the Sheriff. They serve in a capacity as defined by the Sheriff and must meet the standards established by the Sheriff.
The Homeland Security program is designed to increase crime watch patrol awareness concerning local homeland security issues. This program will inspire citizens to be more vigilant in our quest to rid terrorism from our community. Through its existence, Homeland Security Patrols offer a presence to prevent and deter both domestic and international terrorism. This program provides an opportunity for you to take an active role in helping your neighbors and local law enforcement officers keep a watchful eye.
Lake Watch/River Watch
The Lake Watch/ River Watch program was instituted at the request of community residents who expressed their desire to form a citizen’s watch group specifically targeting the needs of the lakes and rivers in Marion County. The program is designed to bring citizens into action by offering necessary training and providing needed equipment.
Volunteer Bailiff’s monitor the decorum of persons entering the courtroom, assist with the movement of jurors within the Judicial Center, assist the public with directions within the Judicial Center, assist bailiffs in any duty not requiring a sworn officer and be alert for conditions or situations which inhibit efficient operation of the agency.
Volunteer Chaplains are expected to respond to emergency calls as needed by the agency such as multiple vehicle wrecks, or any community trauma where their services are needed. Chaplains are expected to cooperate, work with, and possibly assist the Crisis Intervention Specialist (C.I.S.) employees as needed in death situations. Volunteer Chaplains in the Chaplains Corps agree to be on call one week out of the month to Ride-a-Long with a deputy a minimum of four hours in that week. Chaplains are not limited to riding only in their assigned week or area, and may ride as many times as their schedule permits. Chaplains are NOT expected to be called on Sundays, or times when there are church services, or during church holiday events. Chaplains will abide by the “Law Enforcement Code of Ethics”, and maintain endorsement of their church or faith group.
Clerical volunteers may perform computer data entry and filing, assist with training exercises, fill in for a receptionist and assist with photography and fingerprinting civilians.
CERT & MERT
The CERT program is designed to train citizens how to prepare and take care of themselves during times of disaster. This program teaches several topics such as fire safety, disaster medical operations, disaster psychology, disaster preparedness, search and rescue and more. CERT also establishes and maintains community response teams around the county that help promote preparedness and provide initial disaster response to their specific community. These teams are exposed to additional advanced training to include CPR/AED, Animal Response, & Storm Spotter.
The MERT program is designed to provide communications support to areas such as shelters, healthcare facilities, points of distribution and more during times of disaster. MERT members assist with moving valuable communications between agencies and locations about storm information, resource and needs and requests.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created in 2008 to help support the volunteer programs of the Sheriff’s Office. The Foundation meets the second Tuesday of every month at 9:30am in the Sheriff’s Emergency Operations Center located at 692 NW 30th Ave. All meetings are open to the public.