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Senior Volunteer Patrol members watch over downtown area

 

Last updated 8/27/2019 at 6:49pm

In addition to their duties assisting the Sheriff's department, Senior Volunteer Patrol members added a downtown patrol, May 20. According to SVP co-administrator Ray Beatificato, this new service came about from his attendance at the Community Forum meetings sponsored by the Fallbrook Village Association.

At one of those meetings, business owners communicated their concerns that the presence of the homeless keeping customers from coming into the shops on Main Avenue. Beatificato consulted Lieutenant Ricardo Lopez about the SVP doing a foot patrol downtown and was given the green light.

He said that the volunteers go out in teams of two as part of their regular patrol of Fallbrook, at different times on weekdays, and talk to shop owners about any issues they are having. "We are eyes and ears" for the department and able to radio for a quick response from a deputy if necessary, he added.

When the patrols first started, the volunteers saw homeless people hanging around downtown interfering with business. Beatificato said that the patrol's presence has been seen and felt, confirmed by 100 Main owner Sandra Hull who said downtown is much quieter now and she doesn't see as many homeless people.

Of the SVP, Hull said, "I like visiting with them." She said that while a guy has spit on her shop window twice, she hasn't had any shoplifting problems for months.

Kim Murphy of Murphy and Murphy Southern California Realty said she reported broken flower pots and damaged plants on July 5. She said the sheriff's department is "great at responding, here within 15 minutes" when she calls them. "It's great to have their presence (SVP) down here and great for visitors to see it."

Beatificato said downtown patrol will "continue with the blessing of the station command as a service to the community."

Members of the Senior Volunteer Patrol will be on duty Friday, Aug. 1 at the Fallbrook Summer Nights event, along Main Avenue, which will feature the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and the "National Night Out" theme, 5 p.m. to sunset.

Beatificato, who has been with the SVP for 10 years and "enjoys every minute of it," said they have about 42 volunteers on the roster but are actively soliciting more volunteers to assist the Sheriff's Department. This is an opportunity for senior citizens to make a contribution towards improving public safety, service and security.

Candidates for the SVP must be age 50 or older, available to work a minimum of six hours per week, pass a background check (conviction of a felony is disqualifying), have a good driving record, have medical insurance, be physically and emotionally able to perform duties of the position, agree to abide by all department rules, pass the two week training academy (held three times a year) and attend a monthly training meeting.

Volunteers conduct vacation home security checks and make visits to homebound people as part of the "You Are Not Alone" program. Other duties include enforcing disabled parking regulations and assisting with traffic control at accidents and special events.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Senior Volunteer Patrol should call Beatificato, (760) 451-3145, for more information.

 

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