Sheriff’s Office citizen patrollers help deputies shoulder the load

Volunteers take on more mundane tasks so KCSO deputies can attend to more pressing issues

Writing parking tickets and such smaller duties are functions Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office deputies have to contend with but dealing with such tasks eats into patrol time.

That’s where Citizens on Patrol (COP) comes into play. It’s a volunteer program that allows citizens to perform some of the lesser chores.

“The principal duties of the COPs include conducting parking enforcement of disabled parking spots and dealing with complaints of abandoned or junk vehicles around the county,” said deputy Schon Montague, community resource officer.

COP members are issued a gray uniform to distinguish them from deputies’ forest tan and green outfit. Their badges are made of cloth, unlike the metal ones worn by deputies. Members drive to assignments in a squad car emblazed with “Citizens on Patrol.”

Volunteers do not carry a firearm but are equipped with a radio and gloves. Volunteers – who are mostly seniors – put in 16 hours or more hours a month and work between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. COP has 13 members, but the sheriff’s office is looking to double the size. If interested go to

The work does not come with a paycheck but it does have its rewards.

David Behar, 65, of Hansville has been part of COP for four years. “I wanted to get active and put some of the skills I have learned to good use,” he said. “There is only so much gardening and walks on the beach you can do.”

He recalled one incident that made joining COP worth it. “We were doing parking enforcement, and I noticed a car with a woman in it… It was clear she was living out of it. It turns out she had just escaped an abusive marriage and didn’t have any money or any place to go,” Behar said. “We kind of reached into our pockets and gave her some money so she could get gas for her car. We bought her a nice warm blanket so at least she wouldn’t be so cold at night until she got into a shelter.”

Behar helped connect the woman to community resources. “I could see the gratitude in her eyes. You could see she was emotionally just rung out. We can do an act of kindness for someone in the community who really doesn’t have anywhere else to turn. That’s what makes this job really special.”

Bradley Posadas of West Bremerton learned about COP from a pamphlet tacked to a bulletin board at a square dance event. When he read about the program, the 67-year-old jumped at the opportunity. “Wow, another opportunity to wear a uniform,” Posadas said on first thought. He is a retired Navy commander who served in Iraq from 2007-08. “I always joke around with my friends and family that I’ve been in uniform since I was five years old — from the Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, to military school and the Navy.”

As a member of COP, Posadas helped clear out a dozen abandoned vehicles around a school bus stop near Island Lake, north of Silverdale. “A couple of the vehicles had drug paraphernalia, beer bottles, busted windows. It was a safety issue with the parents. They weren’t sure what the kids could be exposed to,” Posadas said.

COP began in 1999 with four citizen volunteers. Originally, participants were only commissioned to monitor and write tickets for disability parking spot violations. The program proved to be so beneficial that the sheriff’s department expanded the program and gave the volunteers more responsibilities. Now they are permitted to write up regular parking infractions and parking too close to a stop sign, for example.

COP members also do house checks when people go on vacation. “Once every few days, someone stops by to rattle the doors and make sure nothing is unlocked,” Montague said. House security evaluations are another duty. “They cover the right type of door and window locks to have. If you choose to put in cameras or alarm systems, they explain how that is done. They also [advise on] trimming bushes and trees to make your house more visible and less of a target.”

Boaters can be helped by COPs through safety inspections. “Getting the inspection can reduce boat owner’s insurance,” he pointed out. Handling traffic control at community events is another job. They recently worked the Run to Tahoma commemoration over Memorial Day weekend.

The only protection COPs carry is pepper spray, used primarily for aggressive dogs. “We have more conflicts between COPs and animals than between COPs and humans,” Montague said.

There has been only one major incident involving a COP member, and that was 23 years ago. Two volunteers were called in to investigate an abandoned vehicle. A family member of the homeowner was walking the pair to the vehicle. Suddenly, a bull with horns, thought to be on another part of the property, unexpectedly appeared and charged the group. One COP distracted the bull while the other assisted the mother-to-be to escape. The bull ended up pinning the first COP to the ground with its horn, goring the volunteer’s leg. The trapped COP grabbed the bull’s nose and squeezed so hard it made the bull stop and trot off, Montague recounted.

The injured volunteer was taken to the hospital, patched up and made a full recovery. Afterward, the two COPs were presented awards for potentially saving the woman’s life. “The COP who was injured is still a COP,” Montague said, adding most mishaps aren’t that exciting, just involving slips and falls.

Bradley Posadas of Kitsap Lake in West Bremerton learned about COP from a pamphlet tacked to a bulletin board at a square dance event. (Bob Smith | Kitsap News Group)

Bradley Posadas of Kitsap Lake in West Bremerton learned about COP from a pamphlet tacked to a bulletin board at a square dance event. (Bob Smith | Kitsap News Group)


Bradley Posadas of Kitsap Lake in West Bremerton learned about COP from a pamphlet tacked to a bulletin board at a square dance event. (Bob Smith | Kitsap News Group)