The Peoria County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) has one of the best, if not the best, auxiliary deputy programs in the State of Illinois. Auxiliary deputies are a corps of well-trained volunteers that complement the County’s public safety efforts by serving as an invaluable resource when the need arises. The PCSO has both mobile and mounted auxiliary units that have participated in countless assignments and hundreds of hours of training, including firearms and search and rescue.
Currently, the Sheriff’s Office has 22 Peoria County residents serving as auxiliary deputies, but as demand for their services continues to increase, so does the need for more volunteers. In 2010, the mobile auxiliary worked a total of 1,826 hours, and 2011’s numbers will exceed those. Duties of an auxiliary deputy may include traffic control, parade escort, public relations, search and rescue, and more. Details of the auxiliary include the Prairie Air Show, annual TT races, numerous charity runs and rides, and other local fundraising events. Last spring, the mobile auxiliary also assisted with security in the aftermath of the Elmwood tornado.
In addition to its auxiliary, the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office recently expanded opportunities for county residents who feel compelled to “protect and serve” by implementing a new volunteer program for owners of all-terrain vehicles and/or snowmobiles. These volunteers would be called upon as necessary to assist primarily with search-and-rescue efforts and would be trained accordingly.
Possible scenarios that would activate this new volunteer program include an elderly person with Alzheimer’s who has become disoriented and lost, or a high school student who has become ill while detasseling corn and cannot be located in the field. The more volunteers the Sheriff’s Office has throughout rural Peoria County, the more likely one or more would be available when the situation dictates.
The Sheriff’s Office appreciates the dedication and commitment of its auxiliary force and recognizes these volunteers’ efforts by honoring an auxiliary mobile deputy of the year and a mounted auxiliary deputy of the year at its annual awards banquet. Auxiliary deputies are an important resource utilized by the PCSO, and responsible individuals interested in learning more about becoming an auxiliary deputy or an ATV or snowmobile volunteer are encouraged to call Lt. Mark Molleck at (309) 697-8515. iBi