Wednesday, April 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

First class of Placerville CHP senior volunteers graduates

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CHP VOLUNTEER CAPTAIN James Newberry swears in 17 graduates of the Senior Volunteer Academy at the California Highway Patrol office on Lo-hi Road on Nov. 22. Graduates of the four-day academy learned CHP procedures and administrative tasks, as well as community service duties, such as deploying the radar trailer. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

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From page A3 | November 29, 2013 | 2 Comments

On Friday, Nov. 22, the first class of Placerville CHP senior volunteers graduated from a four-day program.

The program, CHP Officer Quinn Cuthbertson said, focuses on teaching policies and procedures of the CHP to the seniors. “What their duties are,” he said, in relation to administration, community service, helping the public information officer — Cuthbertson — and even deploying the radar trailer. “The biggest thing,” he said, “is they help in the office.”

Ben Padgett, 63, of Pollock Pines, was one of the 17 graduates. “I think it’s great,” he said of the program. “I get to see and do things I would not be able to do unless I did this (program). Until now, my experience with the CHP was,” miming driving fast, “‘Slow down.’”

The majority of the seniors had been part of law enforcement earlier in their life; only five or six had not, said Brad Martin, 68, of Placerville. Himself an educator for 33 years, teaching everything from kindergarten to university grad school, he noted the group had a diverse background and each brought a different skill set. The others can lean on his abilities as a teacher, he said.

Not only does he get to support his fellow volunteers and the CHP officers, he gets to learn new skills. “It’s opening a new door. I get to learn a whole bunch of information I know nothing about.” He said his “strongest desire” is to “support the officers” and to “make them shine the best they can.”

A common misconception Martin wanted to dispel was only specific seniors could take part in the program. “You don’t have to be a cop to do this,” he said.

But Jerry Leal, 76, of Placerville, was. A retired Highway Patrol officer himself, he said he was doing “too much sitting in a rocking chair. I saw the ad in the paper” for the program, and decided to “come back home, to see if I could be useful … I’m ready.”

Though Leean DeMass, 67, of Camino, was not part of law enforcement, her son is part of the CHP in Quincy — and the reason she joined the program. “I’m excited,” she said. “I think it’s going to be neat.”

She said she has always admired the CHP and simply wanted to help it out. Even office work, she said, is something important and needs to be done.

The 17 volunteers were sworn into service by volunteer Captain James Newberry and then given diplomas by Cuthbertson and CHP Lt. Commander Craig Root. Afterwards, they celebrated with a barbecue.

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Discussion | 2 comments

  • Fran DuchampNovember 29, 2013 - 7:23 pm

    I am very proud of these seniors. Bruce and Bob--kudos. Bruce was our neutral facilitator at our town meetings. Not once did he bring his own feelings into our meetings. He invited the people that were asked for--then stood back and watched the timing. Great job Bruce. I know you will be an asset to the CHP. We learned that the CHP take care of all the roads in El Dorado (except within the city of Placerville.) And we learned the difference between a highway and a freeway...well some of us did. Just like STAR and CERT--volunteers are an important asset to our working law enforcement. Again--congrats to all.

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  • Walking TallDecember 01, 2013 - 8:33 am

    Wonderful way for Seniors to stay involved and learn the true meaning of Law Enforcement and like the other two programs in our County we have support to the men and women who serve us all proudly everyday.The education of the public is the best way to assist the Law Enforcement Team to curb crime and have that all important extra set of eyes and ears that solve crime, a win win for our great county. Thanks CHP, EDSO and PPD

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