COP volunteers help keep Lincoln safe
You won’t see them in car chases or shootouts with drug lords but the 39 men and women in blue uniforms who make up the Lincoln Hills Citizens on Patrol (COP) volunteer team play an important auxiliary role in keeping Lincoln safe.
COP celebrated its 10th anniversary last week.
COP volunteers work directly with the Lincoln Police Department.
The team assumes support roles that free up time and manpower so that sworn Lincoln police officers have time to attend to serious incidents in the community, according to COP volunteer coordinator Rich Ragan.
COP volunteers do everything from leading parades and funeral processions, searching for missing persons to controlling traffic and crowds at disaster scenes.
“Sometimes, we’ve been the first ones on the scene of an accident. Our training is put into practice immediately,” Ragan said.
Volunteers applying to enter the program go through an intake interview and fingerprinting. The program requires 40 hours of mandatory training, which includes administrative briefing, patrolling, six ride-alongs in a patrol car, and education about safety procedures.
Once accepted, volunteers donate a minimum of 16 hours per month to the program.
Their duties, in conjunction with the Lincoln Police Department, are primarily non-enforcement activities. Those activities include performing house checks for vacationers, car and bike patrolling around schools and parks, transporting important documents to City Hall and the Department of Justice in Sacramento, and traffic control.
“A COP volunteer is an extra set of hands and ears out on the street for the police department,” said Roy Osborne, a nine-year veteran with COP.
Osborne said his funniest moment as a volunteer happened on Joiner Parkway at Moore Road where a flock of sheep had broken through fences and were stopping traffic.
“I helped get them off the road until their owner could come to the scene. It was like herding cats,” Osborne said.
COP began in 2003 by Lincoln Hills resident Brian Rea and the original training class included nine graduates.
The program has had four coordinators: Rea, Dave Frink, Les Thomas and the current coordinator, Rich Ragan. Six married couples have worked in the program.
“It’s fun being part of the community and making sure everyone is safe,” said Jennifer Jura, a bicycle patrol COP volunteer since 2012. “It’s good to get out and talk to people. Everybody I meet has an interesting life. I’m learning a lot about Lincoln,” Jura said.
Anyone interested in the program can call 645-4081 and leave a message for Roy Osborne.