By Diana Graettinger
Our goal for the residents of Sun City continues to be the safety of its more than 30,000 residents and that is why the Sun City Posse embraces a philosophy, shared by other public safety agencies, that it is our duty to not only protect and serve, but to also take care of our own.
We now have a program that began several weeks ago that allows our dispatchers to track the activities of our patrol vehicles in real time. Dispatchers no longer have to wait for a patrol member to either call or radio in to know of their location. That is a win for all of our public safety goals because we have a better sense of keeping our volunteer Posse members safe.
That is what we all are, volunteers. All of our people who patrol the myriad streets of Sun City are doing so not because they are paid the big bucks, but because they truly want to give back to our community.
Under the new program, a large monitor located in the dispatch control room pinpoints the location of each patrol vehicle.
Why is this important? Because it now allows us to locate patrol members in the event that they lose radio contact or are unable to use their cell phones.
The program is important all year round but especially during the proverbial “dog days of summer.” Because of our Vacation Watch program we have volunteers who are on the streets in 100 degree-plus temperatures checking on the status of vacant homes — houses left empty by residents who are on vacation or who have returned to their summer homes. Checking on the status of a vacant property does not mean a simple drive by and a nod that everything is great. It requires the patrol member to get out of the car and walk the perimeter of the property to check for broken windows or pushed in doors. During that walk about, if one of our people fell and was seriously hurt and/or for some reason unable to contact us, they could end up lying in the burning summer sun for a period of time. No more.
Our commander, Danny Moore, is behind the program 100 percent.
“Now we can see where the vehicle is located and if one of our volunteers is injured or having a health-related challenge, we can respond immediately,” he said.
We also are exploring the possibility of incorporating electronic tablets in each duty officer’s vehicle that would allow the duty officer to also track all Posse vehicles within the community. A side benefit of the program would be an automatic alert to any vehicle maintenance that might be needed.
Thank goodness for electronics because we are years away from when our volunteers who patrolled the streets had to carry a roll of dimes and use pay telephones in order to call dispatch.
But the real winners are our patrol members. If we can keep them safe by knowing where they are every moment they are on duty, we are keeping our community safe.
This is just one of the innovative ideas instituted for our Posse members, because when they are safe our community is even safer.
Editor’s Note: Ms. Graettinger is Sun City Posse public information officer.