Oakhurst resident Jean Newman was named Citizen on Patrol (COP) Volunteer of the Year by Madera County Sheriff John Anderson at a dinner in Oakhurst April 20.
Newman was recently appointed team leader of the COP Oakhurst Unit because of her dedication and commitment to the sheriff's office and citizens of Madera County.
"She demonstrates a strong work ethic with great enthusiasm," Anderson said.
Newman volunteered more than 400 hours of service to the citizens of Madera County in 2012.
"Each volunteer is only required to volunteer a minimum of eight hours a month," Anderson said. "In Newman's case, that would have added up to 96 hours. Last year, Madera County Sheriff's Citizens on Patrol clocked almost 9,000 hours."
Anderson says these volunteers are a much needed second set of eyes and ears in the community. They not only patrol neighborhoods throughout the entire county, they also conduct house checks for citizens while on vacation. The volunteers are routinely called upon to assist in search and rescue missions and man traffic control during criminal investigations. They are trained as first emergency responders, and many are FEMA certified. Most recently, they were recruited to handle welfare checks for the newly created Elder Orphans program.
For more than a decade now, Anderson has hosted annual appreciation dinners for citizen volunteers to whom he refers to as an essential part of law enforcement.
"We could not do what we do without them," Anderson said.
The Citizens On Patrol program is funded by the volunteers themselves -- that includes training, uniforms and maintenance of their fleet of vehicles.
The COP program is comprised of three essential teams -- the foothills of Eastern Madera County, and the eastern and western parts of the Valley floor. They patrol Bass Lake, North Fork, Oakhurst, Raymond, O'Neals, Coarsegold, Ahwahnee, Madera Ranchos, Madera Acres, Chowchilla and Firebaugh.
While each is assigned to a specific beat, none of them are tied to a single area.
"If there's a call out, regardless of where, they show up without question or hesitation," Anderson said.
Nearly 40 COP volunteers attended the dinner at the Oakhurst Masonic Hall along with members of the sheriff's office and guest sincluding District 1 Supervisor Rick Farinelli and District 2 Supervisor Manuel Nevarez.