The Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office is beginning the second year of its dedicated volunteer program, VISCOMP (Volunteers in Sheriff’s Community Programs). In 2009, 12 VISCOMP volunteers donated more than 300 hours of time to assist in conducting community outreach programs. “These trained volunteers supplement regular staff in delivering programs to the residents of Monmouth County,” said Acting Sheriff Shaun Golden. “Having these volunteers donate their services to programs that otherwise may have been cut during tough economic times is crucial, for that I’m grateful to all the volunteers.”
The volunteers have been trained on important educational and safety programs the Sheriff’s Office has to offer, which include the SEEK 9-1-1 (Sheriff’s Emergency Education for Kids) Program that teaches first graders how to properly use the 9-1-1 emergency number, and the agency’s identification card programs for seniors (Ident Adult), children (Youth ID), handicapped people (Special Person ID) and those with certified medical conditions (Medical Alert Card). Additionally, the volunteers have assisted in the filing and copying of records. “It’s my privilege to give back, because it makes me feel like I’m helping others while volunteering, and that’s worthwhile,” said Keith Casey, a retired engineer who resides in Freehold.
The Sheriff’s Office VISCOMP program grew out of the agency’s annual Citizen Police Academy, an eight week program that educates citizens on law enforcement in Monmouth County. In 2008, many of the classes were designed to prepare those who attended as possible volunteers for the new program. Those classes included Basic First Aid, CPR certification and an overview of the various programs that the Sheriff’s Office conducts throughout the county. In addition, the requirements include an application for participation as a volunteer, a background check, attendance at VISCOMP training programs when scheduled and the participation in a minimum number of programs annually to maintain VISCOMP status.
“Due to budgetary and manpower restrictions these days, community outreach programs tend to suffer in agencies, but these dedicated volunteers help the Sheriff’s Office remain a constant,” said Acting Sheriff Golden.