Citizen Observation Patrol
We have a dedicated volunteer program at the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office called the Citizen Observer Patrol, also known as the C.O.P. Program.
This program was started many years ago with a small handful of volunteers and has grown to almost thirty volunteers.
Citizen Observation Patrol Volunteer Program Objectives:
To assist the agency through observation
To help reduce crime in the community
To increase cooperation between the citizens and law enforcement
To increase public awareness
To increase crime awareness in the public
To improve the quality of life in the area
To provide a safe and secure environment
To make a difference in our community
Volunteer Citizen Observation Patrol (C.O.P.) acts as the eyes and ears for the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office in the community.
C.O.P. is a two-part program. Private citizens, typically retirees, volunteer to observe and report suspicious or criminal activities to the appropriate authorities.
They will assist and direct people to various organizations within the county.
This program aims to help reduce crime in our neighborhoods through cooperation with the Sheriff's Office.
How does C.O.P. benefit the community?
Increase home and property security, increase neighborhood involvement and deter crime in the community.
These patrols provide a physical presence of C.O.P. who have direct contact with 911, which helps prohibit criminal activities.
C.O.P. also develops a relationship between the Sheriff's Office and the community, which aids in prompt law enforcement response. This safety and security from crime help make our neighborhoods quality places to live.
Does C.O.P. reduce crime?
Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office crime prevention personnel are very familiar with the respective areas and aware of the specific concerns in these areas. In particular areas, C.O.P. will work closely with the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office community liaison. As a result, C.O.P. will provide a more substantial observation presence in the area, which will help increase the Sheriffís Office authority in the community and help reduce crime.
How does someone join C.O.P.?
Call 863-763-3117 Ext. 5018 if you need any questions asked, or you can pick a volunteer application up at our Administrative Offices located at 504 NW 4th St., Okeechobee, Florida, 34974
There is an informal training class that educates citizens on observation techniques and law enforcement and gives the citizen a more thorough understanding of the job that law enforcement does in Okeechobee County. After completing the training, citizens are ready to patrol for the C.O.P. unit. Citizen Observers are not Law Enforcement Officers but are trained to be the eyes and ears for the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office. C.O.P. does not replace neighborhood crime watches but significantly augments them. They never get involved directly with crimes, but have instant access to our dispatch center and deputies.
How much time do I need to commit to the C.O.P. program?
Only the time you wish to commit is asked for. If you can only spare (4) hours a month, C.O.P. will gladly keep you busy. Hats, shirts, and windbreakers are provided; volunteers must provide their pants and shoes.