By B.C. Manion
As a young man, Chuck Kaupp served in the National Guard helping to restore civil order when it became necessary.
Now, as a citizen patrol volunteer for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, he helps handle a variety of duties so deputies can focus their efforts on law enforcement issues.
Kaupp would like to volunteer in his own community, but he needs others to join him in order for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to set up a Volunteer Citizen Patrol in Lutz.
The Sheriff’s Office has established such volunteer patrols in Westchase, Town ‘N Country, Apollo Beach, Bloomingdale, Brandon and Fishhawk Ranch, said Deputy Lorraine Jordan, who coordinates the program.
But it needs at least a dozen volunteers who are willing to go through the training and willing to volunteer at least 12 hours a month to handle the duties.
Even though he doesn’t get paid, Kaupp loves the job.
“I call it the neighborhood watch on steroids,” said Kaupp, whose company, Southern Independent Testing Agency, tests and balances air-conditioning systems, primarily for schools and hospitals.
“Neighborhood watches are limited to their neighborhoods,” Kaupp said. These patrols work in larger areas.
The work does not involve confronting criminals and volunteer patrol members do not carry guns, Jordan said.
They work in pairs and they use a patrol car that is labeled Hillsborough County Citizen Patrol and is fitted with amber lights.
The car also is equipped with a radio system and volunteer patrol members carry radios that are tied in to the Sheriff’s Office.
The volunteers handle many duties that otherwise would require deputies. Those assignments include directing traffic at an accident scene, around a flooded street or through an intersection with a malfunctioning signal.
“A normal accident takes us about an hour,” Kaupp said. “That relieves at least one or two patrol cars.”
The volunteers also handle vacation checks requested by residents, and they patrol neighborhoods – keeping an eye out for anything suspicious, Kaupp said.
Other duties can include helping motorists who have disabled vehicles and helping to search for missing children or elderly people who have wandered off, Kaupp said.
The volunteers receive about 40 hours of training in crime prevention, first aid, traffic control and community policing.
If Lutz gets a patrol, the volunteers would likely cover an area between Florida Avenue and US 41 and North Dale Mabry Highway or possibly the Veterans Expressway, between County Line Road and Bearss Avenue, or Fletcher Avenue, Kaupp said.
If a catastrophe strikes, the volunteers might be called to help in other areas, Kaupp added.
The volunteer patrols serve a vital function, Jordan said. “They are the eyes and ears of the Sheriff’s Office.”
The experience is gratifying, Kaupp said. It’s a bit eye opening, too, he said, noting that the volunteers have a chance to ride along with deputies and to see what they encounter.
“I’m more street-wise than I have ever been,” he said. “You learn a lot of trends.”
The volunteers offer an invaluable perspective, Jordan said.
“Who better knows the community than the people who live there?” Jordan said.
She believes the volunteers are motivated out of a genuine concern for their communities.
She’s grateful, too.
“Deputies can’t be everywhere,” Jordan said.
Reach B.C. Manion at .
Must be 19 or older
Must have a valid driver’s license
Must pass a screening process
Must complete training course
Must attend monthly meetings
Must be willing to volunteer at least 12 hours a month
Anyone who would like to learn more should contact Lorraine Jordan at (813) 247-8223 or e-mail her at .
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.