June 27, 2012
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Mayor Holly Brinda
CITY LAUNCHES “RECRUIT THE BLUE” AUXILIARY POLICE CAMPAIGN
WANTED – 24 VOLUNTEER OFFICERS AND OUTFITTER SPONSORS
In these challenging economic times, having a stronger volunteer civilian auxiliary police force in Elyria could play a more vital role in assisting professional, sworn law enforcement personnel in essential public safety operations. As the extra eyes, ears and feet of the Elyria Police Department, auxiliary officers are deployed to assist officers on patrol and during natural or man-made disasters; control traffic; monitor crowds at special city and school events and more. And while they perform other duties, their primary job is to observe and report.
Auxiliary officers don’t carry guns, but can carry batons, pepper spray, and hand cuffs. They have no powers of arrest other than citizen arrests, but they can be authorized by police officers to hand cuff when necessary. “They are definitely deterrents to crime, free our officers up to concentrate on priority issues, and help us identify potential problems before they get out of hand,” said Elyria Police Chief Duane Whitely. Elyria has 18 volunteer auxiliary police officers, including 16 current active officers who contributed 2,900 hours of service to the community last year. And according to Chief Whitely, there is room for at least 24 more officers to assist the very busy and strained 82-officer Elyria Police Department.
That’s why Elyria Mayor Holly Brinda is determined not to let the high cost of outfitting auxiliary police officers get in the way of recruiting more than a few good men and women to help protect Elyrians. To that end, she and Chief Whitely are launching the dual-goal Recruit the Blue Campaign – aimed not only at recruiting 24 additional men and women to serve as Elyria auxiliary police officers, but also to identify Recruit the Blue Sponsors to help off-set the approximate $1,800 cost to out-fit and equip each auxiliary officer.
Mayor Brinda said she has already discussed the idea with some members of the business community and they seem amenable to the idea of contributing to the Recruit the Blue effort through both individual and corporate sponsorships and a fundraiser being organized for this fall they are calling the Blue Jean Crime Stopper Ball. “We’re being creative and taking some personal responsibility as a community to do what we can without a lot of resources to help enhance safety in our City,” said Mayor Brinda. “And who knows, we might even have some fun while we’re doing it.” She said sponsorship letters inviting participation in the campaign will be mailed in the next month and information about the sponsorship opportunities and the Blue Jeans Crime Stopper Ball will be posted on the city website and on cable channel 12.
“What we have found in talking with both existing auxiliary officers and some citizens who aspire to join their ranks is that the cost they must personally bear to outfit and equip themselves is a significant financial barrier that many cannot afford to absorb themselves,” explained Mayor Brinda. Strapped for cash just to keep Elyria’s paid, full-time police force uniformed and equipped, the City cannot afford the approximate $43,200 needed to support the goal of 24 additional auxiliary police. “That’s why we are taking the unusual step of reaching out to the community to help us bear the cost of what we think will be a win-win situation for everyone,” said Mayor Brinda. She said she hopes sponsorships ranging from $25 – $1,800 will pay for the costs of each officer’s shirt ($40), pants ($50), body-protection vest ($800), duty belt ($200), asp ($75), handcuffs ($40), pepper spray ($20), radio/case/batteries ($530) and flashlight ($75).
“To know that we have dedicated men and women out there who are looking for meaningful, challenging volunteer opportunities to help keep Elyria safe and the only thing holding them back is the cost of a uniform and equipment is a barrier we have an obligation to remove,” said Mayor Brinda. Our goal is to raise $43,200 in sponsorships to support 24 additional auxiliary police officers. Chief Whitely said auxiliary officers come from a variety of backgrounds and each have a unique set of knowledge, skills and abilities. “Some are younger people who aspire to be police officers, while others are older and established in their careers or retired and have always had an interest in police work and want to make a difference in the community.” He said the EPD would like to recruit more individuals who are looking for volunteer opportunities later in life to help stabilize the auxiliary force with men and women who have the time to commit and who will stick with the volunteer job over an extended period of time.
Chief Whitely said auxiliary candidates are individuals who like to learn and have some time to commit. To be considered as an Elyria Auxiliary Police Officer you must:
- Be An American Citizen
- Be 19 years of age or older
- Hold a high school diploma of GED
- Be in good mental and physical condition
- Have a valid Ohio driver’s license and a good driving record
- Have demonstrated good character and citizenship
- Not be employed in positions representing a potential conflict of interest: safety
- Must attend training by the Lorain County Sheriff’s Auxiliary Training – a 15-week
program that runs from January through May with twice-weekly classes of 4-5
hours per class
- Must learn about police procedures, laws and ordinances of the City of Elyria
- Must pass a background investigation
Individuals interested in learning more about becoming an Elyria auxiliary police officer should call Sergeant William Pelko at (440) 326-1320. Applications are taken and accepted in person by Officer Pelko Monday through Friday between 2:00 – 10:00pm at The Elyria Police Department, 18 West Avenue. To learn more about becoming a Recruit the Blue Sponsor or helping with the Blue Jean Crime Stoppers Ball call the Mayor’s Office on Volunteer Engagement at 326-1402.