Volusia needs more volunteers for citizens program

By Erin Murray, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, August 17, 2017, 11:01 PM EDT

For Frank Krizon, patrolling for the Volusia County's Citizen Observer Program is not a job, but a civic duty.

  • Volusia County Citizen Observer Program needs volunteers
  • COP volunteers act as eyes and ears for law enforcement

“Our duties are only eyes and ears,” said Krizon, 80, when asked about what happens when he sees something suspicious.

“Deputies do the work, we are their eyes and ears,” said Krizon.

Krizon’s been volunteering for 17 years. He and other civilians help the sheriff’s office with non-law enforcement duties.

But for the last several years, volunteer numbers are way down.

“We are down to about 140 to 150, depending on time of year it is,” said Tim Lamprey, Volusia COP Coordinator. “Hopefully we can get a few more people involved in it. It’s a very rewarding thing, and it helps the community.”

There are 48 roles with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office a volunteer can help with, like monitoring schools and parks. Basically each task helps free up a deputy to be able to pursue more pressing police work.

“Saves the county a lot of money,” said Lamprey. 

Sheriff Mike Chitwood isn’t sure the exact amount of money they save the county, but he knows it’s a lot.

“If you paid them $10 an hour, they were putting in 50,000 hours a year. You multiply that out, that is a huge savings to the counties and the cities, because of the passion of these folks,” said Sheriff Mike Chitwood.

Most of the volunteers are also part of the older generation; on average age 60 and up.

“That is how they were raised. They retired here, and they wanted to give back and this is their way of giving back to their community. And they are passionate about it. The generation behind them doesn’t see volunteerism the same way that this group does,” said Sheriff Chitwood. 

Over the years, Krizon has helped more than 4,000 hours. He said it’s all very rewarding.

“We are out there to do everything we can. We are more public servants than law enforcement,” said Krizon. 

To learn more about the Citizen Observe Program, click here.

Or questions can be directed to Tim Lamprey: 386-736-5961, Ext. 16542, or email at: tlamprey@vcso.us