Rancho Santa Fe Association board approves funding for CHP’s Senior Volunteer Patrol and Explorer Program

By Karen Billing

The Rancho Santa Fe Association board approved a funding donation of $7,000 for the California Highway Patrol’s Senior Volunteer Patrol (SVP) and Explorer Program at its July 19 meeting.

The Association had budgeted for $3,000 for the Senior Volunteers and $1,000 for the Explorers, but the board voted to up its contribution as has been done in years past.

“I think it’s absolutely fabulous what the program has done for the youth and the community and the visibility of having the (SVP) here is a wonderful [crime] deterrent,” RSF Association Vice President Anne Feighner said.

RSF Patrol Chief Matt Wellhouser said that the senior volunteers provide valuable extra help in the Ranch, doing it all for free. They help with special events such as the Fourth of July parade; direct morning and afternoon school traffic; report observed traffic problems; and provide a visual law enforcement presence.

Oceanside CHP Commander Deb Schroeder said that the volunteers have been especially helpful in the face of a current fiscal crisis.

“They have been absolutely phenomenal for my office,” said Schroeder of the program that receives no state funding.

John Green, the SVP captain who has served the Rancho Santa Fe area for the last 10 years, said he truly enjoys being in the Ranch and providing a good service.

“We wouldn’t exist without you,” said John Green, the SVP captain.

The Explorers program the Association supports is for young individuals, ages 15 to 21, who have an interest in a law enforcement career. Currently, 25 law enforcement officers with the Oceanside CHP began in the Explorers program.

“We are touted as the best Explorer program in the state,” Schroeder said. “The support you’ve provided us means more than you could ever imagine.”

The program is entirely run on donations and the Association’s funding helps purchase training equipment and uniforms and allows them to compete at two annual competitions. One of their Explorers recently placed second overall in an Explorer competition in Las Vegas.

The Explorer said she was “truly thankful” for the Association’s support in helping to build toward a future in law enforcement though her Explorer post.

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