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SHARP seeking more volunteers

Manteca Unified asks for help with safety around schools

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SHARP seeking more volunteers

New SHARP member Safdar Ali is sworn in by Manteca Police Chief Dave Bricker on Thursday.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED September 25, 2009 1:58 a.m.

Roger Meadows just didn’t sit around the house after retiring from his 27-year career with Lockheed as a project planner.

Meadows stepped up to serve his community as a volunteer with the Manteca Police Department’s Seniors Helping Area Residents and Police (SHARP) as well as the Manteca Fire Department’s Seniors Aiding Fire Effort (SAFE).

As part of the SHARP’s emergency response team, Meadows along with his partner Lois Page were responsible for finding a lost child.

Meadows, who passed away last week at age 64, was remembered fondly during a memorial service at the SHARP meeting Thursday.

Police Chief Dave Bricker noted if it wasn’t for volunteers like Meadows, the quality of life – and level of police service in Manteca would be a lot lower today.

“Graffiti abatement wouldn’t be getting done if it wasn’t for SHARP,” Bricker noted.

The police department can count 80 SHARP volunteers among their ranks and they’re looking for more. Volunteers help with a wide variety of tasks from traffic control at major incidents to helping abate abandoned vehicles, vacation checks, neighborhood and shopping center patrols to provide extra eyes, filing, running court documents, helping with special events and more.

They have been effective over the years with helping improve safety around schools as children come and go.

They are now being asked by Manteca Unified if they can assist even more due to busing cutbacks.

District Assistant Superintendent Don Halseth was present Thursday requesting that the volunteer force increase patrols around schools due to increasing concern about the safety of children who have to walk farther.

Sometime next year SHARP will be asked to provide volunteers to help staff a seven-day police substation that will open in the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley lifestyle mall.

“Right now we’re shooting to get our numbers up to at least 100 volunteers,” said Jack Snyder who serves as SHARP captain.

The presence of SHARP over the years has freed up sworn and other personnel to concentrate on other duties by taking over smaller tasks. For example, if a traffic accident or an incident will tie up officers for a long period of time, SHARP volunteers direct traffic so a police officer or community service officer isn’t tied up doing so. That in turn allows officers to handle other calls.

Vacation checks – a service where residents can request patrols to check out their homes while they are on vacation– wouldn’t be possible without SHARP. They also provide extra eyes on neighborhood and shopping center patrols during which time they’ll remove illegally posted signs off power poles.

SHARP gets credit for preventing graffiti from accumulating. They document the graffiti and then paint it over.

Meadows was a “model volunteer” according to Bricker.

He volunteered six hours a day for three days a week with SHARP and then assisted with SAFE through the fire department. Meadows was one of those who patrolled shopping centers and schools looking for problems.

“He had a good sense of humor and he was a stickler for doing things right,” Snyder said of Moore. “He’s going to be missed.”

SHARP volunteers must be at least 40 years of age. It was formed in 1991 by former Police Chief Willie Weatherford and now provides more than 21,000 hours of service annually.

For more information call the Manteca Police Department at 456-8100 and ask for the services division.

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