2013 Fernandina Beach Police Volunteer of the Year

This year the police department is honoring one of our original members of our Police Auxiliary Board.

2013 Fernandina Beach Police Volunteer of the YearFernandina Beach, FL – Although protecting the public from harm, crime-solving, and the high-tech processing of crime scenes may be the stuff of popular television, in the real world we recognize that delivering quality police services must be accomplished within the constraints of annual budgets. Budget issues are always priority issues. In fact, the budget is our blueprint for how we deliver police services and each year we work toward keeping the budget flat by spending less or by identifying additional funding sources.

One shining example of working smarter is the Police Auxiliary Corps. This group of police department volunteers has been a true blessing to the City, providing certified and competent traffic control and a variety of other duties at our many city events. They are seen everywhere in their now familiar traffic vests, and now we expect to see them at every parade, musical event and festival. In fact, event organizers now request assistance from our PAC volunteers before they even submit their event applications.

In the past few years our Police Auxiliary Corps, which has about 50 active members, has worked hundreds of events, committing several thousand hours of volunteer time and effort to this community. They are a tremendous asset and are led by a very capable board of directors, which includes Steve Filkoff, John Harris, Don McFadyen, Mary Ruark, Charles Mitchell, Paul Booton, Bob Keller, Jack Dickison, and David Blacklock.

During the past year the PAC board became the Fernandina Beach Police Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The new “Police Foundation” controls the PAC, the Police Chaplaincy Program, the “S-35” Officer Assistance Program, the Shop with Cops program, and our new “Citizens Police Academy,” which will be offered in the fall. They weigh in on event logistics, participate in after-action reports, purchase uniforms and much needed equipment, assist with training issues, and act as a “force multiplier” in many significant ways.

During the past several years the Police Auxiliary Corps volunteers have been providing traffic control at Southside Elementary School in the morning and the middle and high school every afternoon by reducing the traffic congestion at Citrona and Jasmine. They man these intersections every day, rain or shine, and they provide for a much safer environment for our children. Their efforts do not go unnoticed, as they are much appreciated by the students, teachers, parents and administrators.

Most of our volunteers contribute at large-scale events, such as the many parades and festivals that we host in our City, and their effort is most appreciated. Some participate in almost every event held in the City. They are truly extraordinary!

This year the police department is honoring one of our original members of our Police Auxiliary Board. This individual is such a frequent and fervent volunteer, he even has his own piece of police equipment named after him. “The Harris” is an orange, portable RADAR SPEED INDICATOR used to slow down traffic around our schools. It was purchased with confiscated funds after this volunteer convinced staff that it was necessary to assist with traffic control, especially during the sidewalk construction along Lime Street.

John Harris has been a vital member of our Police Auxiliary Corps. He has served as our Vice Commander for the past six years. He embodies the meaning of volunteerism, and he is our 2013 Volunteer of the Year.

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