The Coast News Group
After receiving a $7,000 grant for their programs at the July 19 Rancho Santa Fe Association meeting, members of the California Highway Patrol, Senior Volunteer Patrol and Explorers have a photo taken. From left are Matt Wellhouse, chief of the Rancho Santa Fe Patrol; CHP Officer Gil Ochoa; Laura Jimenez and Angel Pineda, both explorers; John Green and Jim McBride, senior volunteers; and California Highway Patrol Capt. Deb Schroder. Photo by Patty McCormac
Rancho Santa Fe Lead Story

Association increases grant for patrol programs

RANCHO SANTA FE — For the second year in a row, the Association bumped up its annual grant to the California Highway Patrol for its Senior Volunteer and Explorer programs. 

Originally set at $3,000 for the senior program and $1,000 for the explorers, the board voted to give a total of $7,000 to the organizations.

Director Anne Feighner said she thinks the service the two organizations provide is invaluable.

“I think it is fabulous what it does for youth and what it does for our community,” she said.

The appreciation goes both ways.

“Without these two programs, we would not be able to provide this level of service here in Rancho Santa Fe,” said California Highway Patorl Capt. Deb Schroder.

Schroder said with the economy being what it is, the only thing that can be provided to these volunteers is a vehicle. Uniforms and other equipment, which can be expensive, is not covered by the state and that is why the grants are so important.

“We wouldn’t exist without you,” said Sr. Volunteer Capt. John Green. “We enjoy coming down here. We appreciate you for everything you do.”

Part of the funding is also used to send explorers to annual competitive explorer events, during which the local explorers recently came in second overall in competition with the entire state.

“Thank you for your support of our explorer post,” Laura Jiminez said. “The explorers support people who have an interest in law enforcement as a career.”

Matt Wellhouser, chief of the Rancho Santa Fe Patrol, said he drew heavily on the two organizations during the recent July 4 parade and picnic.

“It took 25 of all shapes and colors,” he said. “Their rate is pretty affordable.”

Since 1999, the Association has provided annual funding to the CHP to assist in underwriting the cost of maintaining the Senior Volunteer Patrol program in Rancho Santa Fe and other areas.

“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 in the community,” said Chris Livoni, associate planner.

He said the volunteers are used for providing additional personnel for traffic control and general assistance at special events; periodically directing morning and afternoon school traffic to enhance the safety of school children; providing traffic counts; being a contact point for citizens for complaints and concerns; abating abandoned vehicles; taking reports; and observing specific areas to determine where regular CHP enforcement is needed.