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Senior volunteers sought by CHP

Officers with California Highway Patrol in Oakhurst on Thursday announced the establishment of their office’s Senior Volunteer Program, saying citizens are “never too old to be blue and gold.”

Commander and Lt. Jason Daughrity said he seeks up to 20 seniors, age 55 and older, willing to accept a position and become part of the CHP department.

“We are seeking highly motivated individuals who embody the spirit of volunteerism to help effect a positive change in our community,” Daughrity said.

Public Information Officer and Senior Volunteer Coordinator Kaci Lutz, who opened talks for the program when she joined the office last year, said duties for volunteers will vary depending on what “makes them most comfortable.”

“If we’ve got some who aren’t comfortable around weapons or don’t want to be out on the roads, that’s perfectly fine if they want to stay in the office and assist us there,” Lutz said. “We’ve got a lot to do there. This is all about volunteers helping us in whatever way is best, and we’re very thankful for it.”

Duties will range from administrative functions such as answering phones or filing to assistance at community events, directing traffic at a collision site, or riding along with officers as an extra set of eyes.

After filing an application, Lutz said volunteers will undergo a background check, and be interviewed, before going through a training academy for two weeks, with 4-6 hour blocks on different days.

Volunteers must also have a good driving record.

Lutz said the program, modeled similarly to Citizens on Patrol (COPS) from the Madera County Sheriff’s Office, will be invaluable in helping improve law enforcement throughout the Mountain Area.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” Lutz said. “The sky’s the limit with this ... it’s a really great way to go out and bring in very good people, who are very helpful, productive members of the community to help facilitate our operations here and make us a better place while becoming more oriented and integrated with the community.”

Lutz said applications are accepted until Feb. 20, and the hope is to have volunteers ready for duty by April.

Applications are available online through the Oakhurst CHP’s Facebook page, or at the southwest corner of Redbud Drive and Highway 49.

Lutz said there are currently no plans to open a volunteer program for citizens younger than 55.

Details: Kaci Lutz, (559) 658-6611, or by email at klutz@chp.ca.gov.

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