After several years in dormancy, the Escalon Police Department’s volunteer program has been revived.
Newly trained and uniformed volunteers were on the job for their first official assignment this past weekend, assisting at the city’s Park Fete celebration in a number of capacities, including traffic control and providing assistance as needed to officers.
Police Chief Mike Borges said former senior volunteer patrol members John and Dee Mostowski, along with department Sgt. Gustavo Flores, were instrumental in getting the revised volunteer program back up and running.
“We did a recruitment,” Borges explained, noting that the program wasn’t limited to a certain age, just people looking to be of service in their community.
Along with the Mostowskis, volunteers for the department include Richard Tatum – a former longtime reserve officer with EPD – David Willis, Michael Genseal, Patricia Lynn Wood and Marilyn Pickering.
“The Lions Club made a generous donation to pay for uniforms,” noted Borges. “I went to a meeting, made a pitch, and they came through with about a $3,000 donation to offset the cost of the uniforms.”
Several of the new volunteers were in service for the weekend and were pleased to be ‘on the job’ assisting the city in a very concrete way.
“I’ve been retired for 15 years and thought it was about time I did something,” said Willis. “An extra set of eyes for the police is a good thing; I just thought I would help out.”
John Mostowski, who along with wife Dee previously served at both the county and city levels with volunteer patrols, said he is glad the department now has a new group of volunteers.
“I think it’s a good move, especially in this day and age,” he said of having those extra ‘eyes and ears’ on the street to aid the department. He also pointed to the fact that many Escalon officers living in the community they serve as being a good thing. He did say they are still looking for additional members to add to the volunteer unit, with all ages welcome.
Mike Genseal, who works for the Department of Defense, said he sees suiting up as a volunteer as a way to give back to the community.
“I just decided to help out a little bit,” he said.
Borges said the new volunteers completed a minimum of 30 hours of training, stretched over the course of several weeks, with the last of the training done within the last month. That allowed for them all to be in service for this year’s Park Fete celebration.
“We covered items like radio codes, traffic control, radio procedures, general safety,” explained Borges.
Among some of the areas the new volunteers will assist with on a regular basis include vacation checks, staffing the front desk at the police department, transferring evidence to court, neighborhood watch activities, as well as attending school programs and special community events. Several are expected to participate in the upcoming National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 2.
Borges said the new volunteers could also indicate their area of interest, whether it be running the desk or getting out on patrol. Some volunteers may choose to do a little bit of everything, he said, others may want to just do one or two tasks, but he said all will play an important role in helping move the department forward in a positive way.