Thursday, July 24, 2014

Police honor volunteers

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 4/11/2014

They assisted with traffic control at large community events. They registered youths through the Ident-a-Kid program.

They distributed flyers to alert motorists of a new parking enforcement policy on South Elm Street near the fairgrounds to deal with traffic congestion during soccer matches that attracted hundreds of parents and children.

They assisted with traffic control at large community events. They registered youths through the Ident-a-Kid program.

They distributed flyers to alert motorists of a new parking enforcement policy on South Elm Street near the fairgrounds to deal with traffic congestion during soccer matches that attracted hundreds of parents and children.

Through these and other activities, the Ottawa Police Department’s Volunteers in Police Service organization logged 2,048 hours of service in 2013, Dennis Butler, Ottawa police chief, said.

Butler’s remarks came during a reception to honor the department’s volunteers Thursday evening in the municipal court room of the Ottawa Law Enforcement Center, 715 W. Second St., Ottawa.

Volunteers save the City of Ottawa thousands of dollars each year, city officials said at the reception. According to Independent Sector’s “Giving and Volunteering in the United States” 2011 study, the most recent study available, a volunteer hour in the state of Kansas is equivalent to $18.45. Based on the study, the Ottawa Police Department’s volunteers saved the City of Ottawa $37,785 in wages and overtime in 2013, a police department news release said.

Butler told the audience of volunteers, family members, police officers, city officials and other community members that the nearly $38,000 savings would be similar to adding another full-time position to the department.

“The gift of time is priceless,” Butler said in his closing remarks. “Volunteers don’t necessarily have the time, but they have the heart. No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden for another.”

The department’s 14 volunteers assisted the department with such events as the Ol’ Marais River Run car show, Power of the Past tractor show, National Night Out and DARE camp. Volunteers also helped with McGruff Club, Special Olympics torch run, traffic control at 5K runs and parades, Ident-a-Kid program, Ident-a-Senior program and other activities, Ron Hughes, the police department’s volunteer coordinator, said in a news release.

Hughes assisted Butler in handing out certificates to VIPS members at the reception, which took place in conjunction with National Volunteer Week.

Richard Nienstedt, city manager, and Mike Skidmore and Shawn Dickinson, city commissioners, also thanked the volunteers for their dedication to the community. Dickinson said the hours logged by the police department’s volunteers — coupled with volunteer time and labor provided by local residents to build a new playground and establish a dog park, both located in Forest Park, 320 N. Locust St. — saved the city about $100,000.

“That’s what makes a great city run is having people willing to step forward and say, ‘Here’s a little of my time’,” Dickinson said.

comments powered by Disqus