CALIFORNIA CITY, Calif. (KERO) — The California City Police Department is working to establish a better relationship with the community by encouraging residents to join the department in a citizen capacity. CCPD Chief Jesse Hightower says he's at least 6 officers short of what he considers to be an ideal number for his staff, and he says he'd like to have 15 or more volunteers to help fill the gap.
"The more volunteers that I have, the more freedom the officers have in the field, and the more proactive they can go out and be," said Hightower.
One of the department's current volunteers, 60-year-old retiree Chris Raring, spends 2 days a week, 2 hours each day volunteering with the CCPD, saying it just feels like the right thing to do.
"It doesn't 'feel' anything. Just being a part of my community and giving back to the community," said Raring. "That's why I do it."
Raring is one of 3 volunteers at the department, where they're assigned what are called "non-threatening duties." Some work the counter in the lobby of the station, others check on houses while residents are on vacation or help with things like traffic control.
"It's a good program to be involved in, and they need more people," said Raring.
When Chief Hightower started at CCPD 2 decades ago, there were more than 10 department volunteers. When he became the city's police chief just about a year ago, he wanted to reintroduce the volunteer program as a way for the department to connect with the community.
"It involves a sense of pride. Pride in your community, pride in your police departments. It gives the citizens a chance to get to know the officers. It gives them a chance to see how we do things, what's needed," said Hightower. "We're short-staffed like every agency in the county, in the state, probably, so we try to use volunteers as much as we can."
Anyone interested in volunteering with the California City Police Department can fill out a Cal City volunteer form and return it to the police station at 21130 Hacienda Boulevard in California City. For more information, call the city's human resources department at 760-373-7377.
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