Sunday, May 26, 2013

Giving Back to your Community

Now that my children are grown up (my youngest will be 18 in a couple month) I asked myself what I could do for my community. I did a lot of research and found some amazing programs here in Flagstaff that I could join to give back to my community.

First is the Coconino County Citizens Police Academy -The program is designed to promote awareness and understanding of what local law enforcement agencies do, thus fostering a partnership of trust and shared responsibility between interested law abiding citizens and law enforcement. This class was absolutely amazing. I spent every Wednesday night and some Saturdays in this class and learned so much. The instructors are absolutely amazing, full of information and beyond helpful. These men and women who taught the class took time out of their own schedules to be with us during this 10 weeks.

Next was CERT - Community Emergency Response Teams. This class taught us how to prepare for Natural Disasters as well as helping our Community. This class is a 20 hour class that is taught on a Saturday and Sunday. The CERT members in Coconino County play a vital role in emergency responses. They regularly help staff information call centers during emergency events. They also help educate others in the community about emergency preparedness

My next class starts in a couple weeks and is the Citizen Prosecutor Academy. Attendees will learn how criminal cases are handled from intake/grand jury through trial to appeal. They can also expect a lecture presented by the Medical Examiner and a presentation about the Department of Public Safety Crime Lab. Participants will gain a behind-the-scenes understanding of real-world prosecution and law enforcement.

This Fall I will also be taking Search and Rescue. The Coconino County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Unit is a volunteer arm of the Sheriff's Office involved in performing the Sheriff's statutorily mandated function of conducting or coordinating search and rescue operations within the county. They have all types of areas that we can help in:

SAR Teams.

The members of Coconino County Search and Rescue are made up of teams, each performing specialized mission tasks managed by the Sheriff's Office.

Anyone joining Coconino County Search and Rescue Flagstaff Unit, Inc. becomes a General SAR member. With the completion of training and 1 year of service, the General Member receives a Wilderness Search Tech I Certification.

The Technical Rescue Team specializes in High Angle Rescue situations. Members train to receive a Rock Rescue Certification.

Coconino County has a large range in elevation ranging from the deserts north of Sedona to the highest point in the Arizona, Humphrey's Peak with an altitude of 12,633 ft. Home to a ski resort and great winter outdoor opportunities, situations arise where a team trained to perform in adverse winter conditions at high altitude is often required. Members of the Alpine team train to receive a Snow and Ice Rescue Tech Certification.

Northern Arizona does not have many large rivers like other parts of the State, but Swift Water Rescue incidents can develop in many of the washes and small rivers due to flash floods.

The CCSAR Mounted unit operates independently of the CSAR Flagstaff Unit, Inc. under a Sheriff's Deputy who manages both the SAR and the Deputy Mounted Unit.

Search dogs are a valuable resource, being well-suited for most all SAR missions and bringing unique capabilities to our SAR Unit's toolbox. CCSSAR includes a NASAR certified SAR K9 Team consisting of Area, Human Remains Detection and Trailing canines.

Now that I have graduated 2 of the classes I have already started to give back. I did my first ride along with Flagstaff PD last night. Going out on calls was a true eye opener on what our officers truly do every single time they are on shift. The amount of paperwork alone they have to do is so time consuming and I expressed my ideas to the Officer I was working with to try to help cut down on some of that and to try to make their lives just a little easier so they can spend more time helping others verses all the paperwork that is required.

I plan on volunteering with Flagstaff PD as often as I possibly can and I hope that once you read into what this classes are about that you too will look and see if your community has these courses available to you. It is time that we give back to our community and lets all help to make it a better place to live. I will eventually get certified to be in the Mounted Unit as well as the K9 Team for our local Search and Rescue.

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