RANCHO SANTA FE — It seemed to be a meeting of the mutual admiration society when it came time to bestow funds to the CHP Senior Volunteer and Explorer’s programs during the July 7 meeting of the Rancho Santa Fe Association.
The Association voted to again give $3,000 to the volunteer patrol and $1,000 for the Explorers and to put a proposal before the finance committee to give them more if the committee approves.
The two groups are very important spokes in the wheel of local law enforcement.
“You name it, they do it,” said Matt Wellhouser, chief of the Rancho Santa Fe Patrol. “Things like the Fourth of July without their help would be very difficult to do.”
CHP Capt. Deb Schroder, the area commander, said she has been losing programs and personnel because of shrinking budgets.
The volunteers and Explorers help take up the slack.
“I thank the Association so much for being able to provide this program to us,” she said.
Jimmy Gaffney, the area CHP officer, said they are vital to his own operation.
“Without these senior volunteers I would not be able to do what I do,” he said.
Among the services provided are:
— Periodically directing morning and afternoon school traffic which has enhanced the safety of school children
— Serving as a visual enforcement deterrence throughout the community
— Providing visual traffic counts
— Issuing warnings to parking violators in the Village
— Providing special event traffic control and general assistance
— Reporting observed traffic, circulation and speeding problems to regular CHP enforcement units
— Taking reports
— Abating abandoned vehicles
— Serving as a contact point and conduit for citizen complaints and concerns
Rancho Santa Fe has a long association with the CHP.
“Beginning in 1999, the Association has provided annual funding to the CHP to help underwrite the cost of maintaining the Senior Volunteer Patrol in Rancho Santa Fe,” said Nikki Flynn, assistant planner for the Association who spoke at the meeting.
“The deployment of the Senior Volunteers continues to be an important component of the CHP’s commitment to maintain an increased level of service and enforcement provided to the community.”
She said some of the funds can be put toward uniforms and equipment for volunteers which can be costly.
The same goes with the Explorer program, which provides experience and training to young people between the ages of 15 and 20 who are interested in a career in law enforcement.
The funds can be used to help outfit an Explorer who otherwise may not be able to afford it.
“Thank you for the support you give,” said Officer Jared Stapleton, an Explorer advisor.
He said the program is not only good for kids who are “A” students and straight arrows, it is also useful to others.
“It’s a great program for kids who may not get the right support at home and push them in the right direction,” he said.
Association President Jack Queen told the volunteers they are valuable to the community.
“We appreciated the hours you put in making us all feel safer,” Queen said.