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Manteca Police SHARP unit seeks volunteers

Seniors Helping Area Residents and Police needs volunteers.

Better known as SHARP, this unit is a group of volunteers – men and women over the age of 40 – who are dedicated to making a difference by helping improve their community.

Currently, some 60 men and women over the age of 40 are there to help and support the Manteca Police Department.

“We’re always looking for more volunteers,” said Jacki Cantu on Thursday.

She became involved SHARP about three years ago while attending the local Fourth of July Parade. Cantu got a hold of flyer and decided to get involved.

“I was tired of staying home and watching Judge Judy on TV,” she said.

Cantu has enjoyed her time with SHARP.

“I enjoy meeting the public and being part of the solution,” she said.

SHARP kicked off in 1991 behind the efforts of former Police Chief Willie Weatherford. At one point, the program consisting of a Supervisory Team – included were a captain along with several lieutenants and sergeants, overseeing and managing the group – were nearly 200 strong.

“That was prior to the real estate bursting (in 2008),” said Cantu, who hoping for volunteers to step up and help make Manteca a safe and more attractive community.

The screening process for those interested consists of completing an application, passing a background check, getting a finger scan, having a valid California Driver’s License along with a good driving record.

Prospective volunteers must be willing to invest at least four hours a week.

But prior to that, they’ll receive a minimum of 30 hours of training before going on active patrol – SHARP officers will also receive training in police, radio and traffic control procedures in addition to learning CPR (optional) and first aid.

SHARP officers receive no assignment that will place them in danger.

Rather, they’re called upon to handle some of the primary duties such as patrolling school areas and commercial parking lots in a marked SHARP vehicle – add calling for tow service for abandoned vehicles, removing graffiti, and assisting with clerical duties in the Record Unit to that list.

For more information, call the Manteca Police Department’s non-emergency number at 209.239.8401.