Anyone who ventures into the hallways of San Bernardino County’s Historic 1923 Superior Courthouse knows that it can be an experience. Besides the pressure of everything from a red light camera ticket, to complex family issues to major criminal trials, it is a building bursting at its seams.
It is the job of the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department to maintain order while lending assistance to the thousands that enter through the security check points every day. Serving with the uniformed deputies is a small crew of Citizens on Patrol (COP’s).
Most county citizens are aware of the COP’s that assist with patrol on the streets of much of our county but many are unaware that a COP unit tends to the day-to-day face-to-face duty of maintaining the Court’s busy corridors by assisting the deputies in their duties.
This group of about 15 mostly senior citizens are sworn volunteers, who uniform up and wear a shiny Sheriff badge but do not carry a gun or make arrests. Their job is answering a myriad of questions and directing people to the proper places in a complex maze of offices, courts and mediation rooms.
County wide, Sheriff Department volunteers have logged well over 10,000,000 hours.
Anyone interested in joining the volunteer COP unit in the downtown Superior Courthouse can apply by calling 909-387-0287.
After an initial interview with Sheriff personnel, each candidate will have a background check completed and attend a 40-hour COP academy designed to instruct volunteers into the workings of the Sheriff Department and the Courthouse.
Once each year, the COP’s from the Courthouse join their deputy brothers and sisters in a holiday party. That occasion is also the time the Sheriff Department announces their "COP of the Year" as well as the "Employee of the Year."
This unit of volunteers, which logs over 5,000 hours of service each year, presented Mike Jones (Yucaipa) with their 2012 "COP of the Year" award. Jones maintains the unit’s police radios, has been a COP for nearly four years and logged over 1,500 hours of volunteer service.
This year’s festivities also saw Deputy Troy Terbest awarded a plaque for his outstanding service beyond his regular assignment. For years, he has almost single-handedly organized BBQs for the entire staff of both the downtown Criminal and Civil Courthouses. These have been fundraisers for the Sheriff Department which help activate other projects.
The 2013 officers for the COP unit were also saluted during the evening. They are Commander David Stallberg (Redlands), Vice Commander Debbie Kelly (San Bernardino), Secretary Becky Fults (Colton), Treasurer Pamella Garcia (Loma Linda) and Training Officer Don Leiffer (Highland).
-- Information provided by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department