BLACKFOOT – The Citizen's on Patrol (COP) program needs more volunteers. The core group consists of about 16 volunteers and Sgt. Jeff Mosbrucker with the Blackfoot Police Department says "it just isn't enough."
"COP's are the eyes and ears for the police," said Mosbrucker. "They're already trained and they help ease the load so officers can focus on other things."
For the month of December COP's donated 51.5, hours of their time. Mosbrucker says the police department would like to see a big increase in that number –– but it will require more volunteers.
To become a COP you must pass a background check, have a clean driving record, pass an entrance interview and complete 10 hours of training. The training includes policy, patrol and safety procedures and radio training.
"If you care about our community and have time to volunteer this is a great program," said Blackfoot Police Department Community Programs Coordinator Paul Hardwicke. "Or, if you are someone that has an interest in law enforcement, this is more of an inside view. You can see what the police department does."
COP's are trained to watch, observe and report to police officers. They are instructed not to pursue or engage.
Hardwicke says COP's assist at Pride Days, The Eastern Idaho State Fair, and other special events. They check schools, businesses, storage units and residences when people are on vacation. They help with traffic control and funeral escorts.
"The COP's can also provide valuable assistance in various situations such as searching for missing persons and securing crime scenes," said Hardwicke. "The COP's assisted with the search for the missing child in the Ridge Crest area...the fast response of the COP's doubled the number of police personnel that were assigned to the search with virtually no cost to taxpayers."
The COP program is a non-profit organization which is primarily funded through donations from the community.
Citizens interested in becoming a Citizen on Patrol can pick up applications at the Blackfoot Police Department located inside the Bingham County Courthouse or you may call the police department at 785-1235 for more information.
"If people would like to ride along with us and see what it's all about before deciding you can do that," said Mosbrucker. "Just call the police department and set up a time. We hope people will get involved, we don't expect a lot of time but it does make a difference in our community."
Applicants must be at least 21 years old and have a valid driver's license. Retirees are encouraged to apply. Monetary donations to the COP program can be mailed to 501 N. Maple #410, Blackfoot, Idaho 83221 or dropped off at the police department.