Police, sheriff seek helpers: ‘It’s the greatest thing …’

By CATHY LOGG

Herald Writer

EVERETT – Nearly 300 people are wanted by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and the Everett Police Department.

The two agencies would like to put that many more people in uniforms and put them to work as volunteers.

Jerry Joslin, 82, and his wife June, 81, of Marysville have been sheriff’s volunteers at the north precinct for a couple of years – and don’t plan to quit anytime soon.

"It’s the greatest thing since the wheel," Jerry Joslin said. "We live in an apartment, and we get bored."

They volunteer four hours a day once a week, serving as mail couriers, performing vacation house checks, patrolling park-and-ride lots and enforcing disabled parking laws.

"We really enjoy it," he said. "We keep pretty busy. It’s convenient for us."

The two have been married for 60 years and volunteer together, as they do most everything else.

"We’ve been together so long we don’t get along if we’re not together," Jerry Joslin said.

The two "have so much energy, and they’re so happy to be giving back" to the community, sheriff’s spokeswoman Jan Jorgensen said.

Joslin said the only thing he’d change would be to recruit some minorities to the volunteer ranks.

"Our employees couldn’t do the job that they do without our volunteers," Sheriff Rick Bart said.

His department has used the services of volunteers for about 11 years. Currently, there are 65; the department would like about 300.

"They provide a wonderful service," Jorgensen said.

When the volunteers first began working with the department, Undersheriff Randy Nichols couldn’t imagine what they would do, he said. Now, he can’t imagine working without them.

Volunteers work in the office, provide food for sheriff’s employees at various functions, and perform other tasks.

Marge Searles of Everett faithfully helps out Jorgensen with clerical work every Thursday.

"She’s a wonderful volunteer," Jorgensen said. "She’s just very valuable. I know sometimes she’d rather be golfing, but she comes in anyway and keeps things in order. She’s cheerful and has such a wonderful sense of humor."

The volunteers have saved taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, Jorgensen said.

Everett police have about 50 volunteers, with about half of those being reserve officers or youth Explorers. The department would like to add about 25 more adults, Sgt. Boyd Bryant said.

"We’re interested in expanding the program," he said. "We’d like to put a volunteer with each group in the department. We’re looking for people who know computers, graphic arts, data analysis, statistics."

Other volunteers could work on block watches, crime prevention projects, and help with community functions such as National Night Out, Bryant said.

Police volunteers do a wide variety of tasks, including maintaining organizational charts and working on the Web site. Currently, the department is unable to staff the vacation patrol every day, Bryant said.

With more volunteers, police could beef up that group as well as dedicate one person to crime prevention with each Everett neighborhood group, he said.

"As additional volunteers come on line, they bring their experience and their ideas, and they have new insights that help us develop better uses for our manpower," Bryant said.

In addition, the department has college internships in criminal justice and computer science, and could make others available, he said.

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