One existing senior volunteer patrol group is in San Diego, California, where the R.S.V.P. (Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol) has a significant role in helping to increase the level of crime prevention. According to the City of San Diego website, a senior volunteer of at least 50 years of age, with no court referrals, who can pass a standard police background check, is eligible to participate in this program.
Duties and Requirements of the Volunteer Patrol
Serving mainly as extra eyes and ears of the San Diego Police Department, the volunteer patrol performs vacation house-checks, takes part in You Are Not Alone checks, and helps promote more community awareness of the program for all citizens. This in turn should help with the recruitment of new R.S.V.P. members.
Protocol for the Senior Volunteer Patrol
The senior volunteer must have good written and verbal communications skills, be a reliable reporter and the keeper of confidential information – and have a valid California driver’s license. They must make a time commitment of three 8-hour shifts a month. This is a part time job, but in no way is it a part time commitment. You have to really want the best for your community to take on this role.
A Senior Volunteer in a Crisis
Pernicie Welch, a senior volunteer from Mendenhall, Mississippi, provided assistance to her neighbors during and after Hurricane Katrina. She plugged the freezers of three other families into her own power unit, did laundry, cooked meals, and delivered meals to many of those impacted by the disaster. Later, she and others put on a carnival to benefit the community. There are many inspiring stories of people like Pernicie Welch featured on seniorcorps.gov, which indicate that one can “patrol” simply by being alert to the needs of neighbors and responding.