POCATELLO, Idaho - The Pocatello Police Department recognized their many volunteers at the 20th Annual Recognition Banquet on Tuesday evening.
Community Services Specialist Dianne Brush said there are several different ways to volunteer with the police department, from basic office duty like manning the front desk, answering phones and filing paperwork, to being in the field with the Neighborhood Watch program, checking on others houses while away for the winter and even scrubbing graffiti.
The volunteers said they are happy to help as much as they can, to free up the officers so they can fully serve the community, but the volunteers also said they get satisfaction out of it as well.
"It keeps me young," said Oliver Samora. Samora was awarded the "15 Years of Service" award.
"We walk around the houses and make sure there's no broken windows, water running or doors open," Samora said, adding he spends about four hours every Saturday morning performing this task for those who's homes are empty, usually snowbirds. And he's not the only one with a lot of volunteer hours under his belt.
"There's a place in Neighborhood Watch for everybody," said Larry Larsen, Pocatello Zone Five coordinator. "If they want to dive in with both feet we've got a place for them."
Larsen said if he's out and about, you will likely see him scrubbing graffiti off vandalized walls around town. Brush said it's volunteers like them who make a big difference for the police department.
"As police officers get busier and busier on calls in our city, there are some services that we're able to have volunteers do," Brush said. She added many of the basic services they perform help the police officers be more available for emergencies.
"It is so important," Brush said of the volunteer program. "Our community can't thrive without volunteers.
Both Larsen and Samora said they will continue to serve as long as they are able. Larsen added a message for those who continue to vandalize with graffiti around town.
"I know you'll never quit," he said, "but I'll never quit either."
If you are interested in being a volunteer with the Pocatello Police Department, you can contact Dianne Brush at 208-234-6117 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.