In 1978, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department introduced the Citizen Bear to Green Valley. The Citizen Bear was comprised of Green Valley volunteers who facilitated the use of Citizen Band radios for communication. At this time, the role of the Citizen Bear in the community was limited to search operations and home visits. Although volunteerism was in its infancy at this time, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department was a national leader. With that in mind, it was no surprise that Sheriff Dupnik decided to expand volunteerism even further.
Sheriff Dupnik tasked a group of individuals to develop a larger more comprehensive group of volunteers. The focus was to develop a program which would model the Green Valley Citizen Bear group while serving all of unincorporated Pima County.
The initial progression was slow; however, the Department soon learned that the talent of the volunteers vastly exceeded our expectations. The Citizen Bear program evolved into a new concept of volunteerism. This evolution also prompted a change in the name. Our volunteers came to be known as the Pima County Sheriff’s Department Auxiliary Volunteers, Incorporated.
It did not take long for the responsibilities of this volunteer organization to expand far beyond what was initially anticipated. The following are a few examples:
In the summer of 2014 Chief Deputy Chris Nanos asked the SAVs to help reduce the burden on the Patrol Division by performing Vacation Checks (Code 9s). The Volunteers rose to the challenge by starting a Code 9 Squad. When a resident calls into their district office and requests a vacation check, the SAVs will check the residence at least twice a week. They check doors and windows and look for signs of a break-in or any other suspicious activity. If needed, they will contact the homeowner or a representative.
The Pima County Sheriff’s Department Auxiliary Volunteers (SAV) are exceptionally trained individuals who represent the Department in an extraordinary manner. Since 1981, this non-profit volunteer organization has provided over 1 million hours of service to the community. Through their contributions, the Sheriff’s Auxiliary Volunteers are a vital part of our efforts to enhance the quality of life within the community we serve.
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