Grants bolster LGPD citizen volunteer program

By Bill Rautenstrauch, The Observer November 16, 2012 02:18 pm

Bolstered by grants totaling more than $20,000, the La Grande Police Department’s Citizen Volunteer Program has entered a second year.

Lisa Reddington, a retired sergeant who formed the group, said the money has enabled her to train members and equip them with uniforms, radios and more. 

“We’re hoping to buy a few more radios, but we’ve got most of what we need,” Reddington said.

Reddington started laying the groundwork for formation of the group during the spring of 2011, with the first meeting held late that summer. Currently, the group numbers 14.

Among grants received in 2012, Wildhorse Casino and Resort Foundation and the Oregon Community Foundation Regional Action Initiative  contributed $5,000 each for administrative costs related to the program. 

A Building Safer Communities mini grant from Oregon Department of Transportation/Acts Oregon yielded $4,800 to buy safety equipment including traffic safety vests, flashlights, traffic safety promotional items. The grant also was used to pay personnel costs for training of the citizen volunteers.

In more grant funding, Walmart gave $1,000 for general funding, and the Northeast Oregon Area Health Education Center contributed $500 for training equipment and supplies, as well as refreshments for Youth Public Safety Academies.

The citizen volunteer program also received two grants from Soroptimist Club. An $1,800 grant paid for general operating expenses for the Youth Academy and Every 15 Minutes program. The second was a special grant to purchase equipment including a projector, screen and digital camera for citizen volunteers.

The unarmed volunteers help with security and traffic control at large public events, do some foot patrolling, and assist the department with a variety of other functions that can be performed by unsworn personnel. The volunteers also receive training in subjects related to law enforcement.

“Our program supports services of the police department and provides assistance where the police department doesn’t have manpower or resources,” Reddington said.

Reddington said that while her roster is full for now, she is interested in talking to people wanting to volunteer in the future. She said inquiries from people of retirement age would be especially welcome, because volunteers are required to put a minimum number of hours in each month.

For more information about the program, contact Reddington at 541-910-1261.