By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek, February 12, 2020.
Acting Mill Creek Police Chief Scott Eastman gave the Citizen Patrol Oath of Honor to two community volunteers at the January 28, 2020, city council meeting.
Police Chief Greg Elwin’s absence was not explained and City Manager Michael Ciaravino has not yet responded to an email asking for clarification.
As members of the Citizen Patrol; Tracy Simplot and Jennifer Hoaglan received limited police commissions allowing them to write tickets for misdemeanors or infraction level violations that often occur when people park where they shouldn’t.
Under the supervision of Police Chief Elwin, the Citizen Patrol program was reestablished from the ground up in 2018.
Eastman told the city council that Citizen Patrol members have volunteered over 1,300 hours of their time, “… allowing staff the opportunity and time to focus on other significant assignments.”
Simplot and Hoaglan join Sally Dagna, George DeWitt, Barbara Heidel, Joel Goverman, and Eleen Goverman; who all became Citizen Patrol volunteers in 2019.
All Citizen Patrol volunteers underwent criminal background and reference checks. As well they are graduates of the ten-week Mill Creek Police Citizen’s Academy where they received training on police operations and procedures such as traffic control, security checks, and investigation of certain traffic or parking-related offenses.
The ten-week Mill Creek Police Citizen’s Academy is the first step for interested community members who are looking for a way to assist the Police Department, but aren’t ready to become a full-fledged police officer.
”The Police Citizen's Academy was an incredibly enriching experience in numerous ways,” said Carmen Fisher, 2018 Citizen's Academy cohort member and Police Department volunteer last year.
She added, “We got to know local law enforcement personnel, with the pleasure of seeing the tremendous character of our officers. The information presented was extensive and valuable, certain to be of lifelong use. And we had a lot of laughs and fun at the same time. This is community policing at its finest. I enjoyed every minute of class, and would highly recommend it.”
Fisher and a number of other Citizen's Academy graduates assist the Police Department with crowd control at community events such as the Veterans Day and Memorial Day parades.
Only a few Citizen's Academy graduates make the additional commitment to become a Citizen Patrol volunteer, which requires additional training.