The Mineral County Sheriff’s Department is reinstituting the Citizens on Patrol, or COPS program. Sheriff Stewart Handte placed Sergeant Earl Perry in charge of the program. Perry led the program in the past.
After having some conversations with the citizenry of Mineral County, including the citizens of Walker Lake and Mina, Handte concluded it was time restart the program.
“The COPS program was originally started by Sheriff Ed Smith. His reasoning was that a lot of different things could be done by normal citizens who wanted to be part of the sheriff’s department but had no way to do so, As a result, the COPS program was formed in Mineral County.” Perry said.
While COPS volunteers are outfitted by the department, they have amber lights rather than standard police lights on their vehicles. Perry mentioned former volunteers worked the front window at the office and others patrolled the school zone and performed other duties.
“When you get senior citizens who are willing to volunteer their time at the sheriff’s office, why not take them up on their offer?” Perry said. He also said two of his volunteers who formerly patrolled the school zones are ready to resume their duties. Perry expects to have the program running by early September.
“The seniors can come up here, and we do a very basic background check. If there’s no outstanding warrants we have them fill out an application. I look at it, and if I approve it, I bring it to the sheriff, and we have a conversation about it. It’s a very simple thing,” Perry said.
Handte said the program allows senior citizens to remain active in the community. He also emphatically stated that the department will not put COPS in any dangerous operations.
“The bottom line is that Sergeant Perry is well versed in this, and he’s willing to take it on. This is extra eyes and ears for us out in the field along with more community presence. It’s a win-win situation for us,” Handte concluded.
The COPS program is open to Mineral County citizens aged 55 or older.