The Citizen Volunteer Program consists of two branches: the Citizen Posse and the Citizen Volunteer. Both are non-sworn positions and volunteers are not armed.
Citizen Volunteer Unit
The Citizen Volunteer Unit focuses on individuals who wish to bring their talents and expertise wherever the WCSO finds a need. These volunteers help out with Neighborhood Watch, administrative tasks and other duties. The Citizen Volunteer Unit provides thousands of hours of assistance with numerous volunteers each year.
Citizen Posse Unit
The Citizen Posse Unit provides assistance with patrol, emergency services, events, public relations, K-9, special tasks and the mounted unit.
The Citizen Posse Unit is a volunteer service consisting of individuals who provide non-emergency assistance to citizens and law enforcement officers. Its purpose is to save taxpayer money while providing sworn law enforcement officers with more time to respond and focus on violent criminals and complex criminal investigations.
In November, 2013, the WCSO Posse received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award, initiated by President George W. Bush in 2003. This award is for both individuals and groups who dedicated their time for the betterment of their community. The WCSO Posse was nominated for the award and received a gold medal for reaching over 4,000 volunteer hours in 2013. The WCSO Posse is the first “sheriff’s group” presented this distinction in the state of Florida. The award is honored to groups in the following category: health, youth, parks and emergency. The WCSO Posse received the award in the “emergency” category.
Citizen Posse volunteers patrol the entire Walton County area and are equipped with retired patrol vehicles. The volunteers assist in funeral processions, festivals, fairs, neighborhood patrols and other events that typically require a deputy’s presence. The Citizen Posse Unit’s greatest contribution is assisting disabled motorists. This can be as simple as parking their cars with their flashing yellow lights behind the motorist to keep them safe until assistance arrives, or changing a tire or taking them to get gasoline. Volunteers can are able to provide someone who was involved in an accident with a ride home. Citizen Posse members can also transport individuals away from locations where a domestic violence situation occurred. Citizen Posse are not sworn law enforcement officers and do not possess arrest powers.
How much does this cost the taxpayer?
The Citizens Posse program saves taxpayer dollars while increasing the safety of citizens and visitors of Walton County.
- This is a volunteer-based program.
- Its members do not receive a salary
- Aside from gasoline and “wear and tear” on retired vehicles, the program provides the public with more eyes and ears on the ground to keep our communities safe
Who can participate in the program?
The Citizens Posse Program is open to anyone from the ages of 19 to retired. Individuals must submit to a criminal history check prior to participating in the program.
Posse members are required to serve a minimum of sixteen (16) hours per month, but there is no minimum requirement for other Citizen Volunteers. Applicants will be interviewed and must pass a criminal history investigation. Uniforms and necessary equipment will be provided by the WCSO.
Applications are available ONLINE.