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Members have variety of reasons for joining VIPS
Something to do in retirement, a need to clean up a mobile home park of undesirables and serving as a chaplain all played a role in three members' decisions to join the Orland Volunteers in Police Service.
"I was looking for something to do (in retirement), " VIPS volunteer Andy Lum said. "Little did I know how many hours were involved."
Lum was honored March 2 for volunteering 181.5 hours to the group in 2012.
"We don't get paid," he added. "But we do get a lot of thanks for helping out. That's all I need."
Caryn Brown joined the group six years ago while working full-time in Tehama County and managing a local mobile home park part-time.
"I joined the VIPS to increase my knowledge to try and clean up the park," Brown said. "What kept me is they have a strong sense of right and wrong, and I can give back in a meaningful way."
The VIPs were started in 1997 by former Orland police Chief Bob Pasero before he became chief.
Its members assist the police department with traffic control, crime scene security, DUI checkpoints, vacation house checks, emergency evacuations and more.
The Rev. Paul Ratzlaff said he was asked to be the group's chaplain in 1997, and he has been involved ever since.
He said to be a VIPS member you must "plug in" to the law enforcement mentality regarding crime.
"I am now more inclined to call the police if I see something that's not quite right," Ratzlaff said, rather than ignoring it.
The VIPS recently hosted a Citizen Police Academy graduation ceremony in which eight graduates received certificates for completing the six-week course.
Brown said all of them have indicated they plan to join the group which currently has 22 members.
The graduates include Maria Villa, Karen Ayers, John Stalions, Montanna Sisco, Robert Thomas, Kimberly McLaughlin, Shane Kelly and Nina Salorio. They include both adults and teens.
During the academy, participants are taught about law enforcement procedures, domestic violence, traffic control and safety, criminal street gangs, crime scene investigations, the criminal justice system and communications and records.
Orland area residents 18 and older are eligible to apply while those 16 to 18 may apply as VIPS Cadets.
They must take the required training course and pass a background check and criminal clearance to become a VIPS member, officials said.
Other honorees at the March 2 ceremony were Jeanne Stephens for volunteering 181 hours to the community last year and Kevin Ayers for volunteering 204.5 hours.
Outgoing VIPS Capt. Gerald Rice was named the group's Volunteer of the Year for volunteering 216.50 hours in 2012.
All told, the VIPS members volunteered more than 1,837 hours last year at several parades in the North State, at two local funerals, helping out during the Glenn County Fair, the Orland Rod and Custom Car Show, the Avenue of Lights show, Glenn County Farmer's Market, DUI checkpoints hosted by Orland PD and many more events.
Brown presented a slide show on VIPS activities to the Orland City Council on March 4 and said it is available to other community organizations interested in VIPS programs.
VIPS liaison Officer Charles Barnes said he believes VIPS members are a "valuable part of our department."
They assist with traffic control, road closures, parking enforcement and so on, so police officers can spend more time investigating crimes and responding to calls for service, he said.
"The department considers the VIPS to be an integral part of the OPD team and their time and dedication is greatly appreciated," Barnes said in a statement.
Citizen Police Academies are normally conducted in the spring, Brown said, but one may be held this fall if enough people apply.
For more information, call the Orland Police Department at 865-1616 or contact Barnes via e-mail at cbarnes@
cityoforland.com or the VIPS@cityoforland.com.