CHIPLEY — Washington County Sheriff Bobby Haddock welcomed the first graduating class of the Washington County Sheriff's Office Public Service Program into service on Thursday, Nov. 1.


CHIPLEY — Washington County Sheriff Bobby Haddock welcomed the first graduating class of the Washington County Sheriff's Office Public Service Program into service on Thursday, Nov. 1.



“The Public Service Officer program will be used to augment the patrol efforts of our deputies,” Haddock said. “They will provide us with extra eyes and ears and will assist us in many other areas of responsibility as well.  I’d like to personally welcome PSO Gerald Hicks, PSO Rod Whitfield, PSO Tom Lancaster, PSO Gerald Richter and PSO Tim Ivers to our team.”



The first graduates were selected from a pool of interested volunteers and determined to be qualified candidates. Volunteers were screened, completed a background check and successfully completed the required training curriculum. 



Some of the initial duties they will perform will be visibility patrol, assisting with traffic and crowd control, welfare checks and special events. All necessary equipment will be provided to the volunteers who will be expected to perform a required number of hours each month. 



PSO’s will not be sworn law enforcement personnel and therefore will not be responding to or handling any potentially dangerous calls for service. Primarily, they will provide those services which are essential to public safety that deputies are already doing, freeing up our personnel for more serious law enforcement duties. 



This has been a successful program in many other counties in the state of Florida. “Volunteers have always been a vital part of our community in many ways,” Haddock said.  “We couldn’t be more proud to welcome this group into participating in something that is vital to the safety of our citizens.”



Persons interested in the next PSO school should contact the Washington County Sheriff's Office at 638-6069 for additional information.