Should volunteering really be this difficult?

I went back and edited my original post regarding the inefficiencies of government, where I included a bullet point list of the things I have been struggling to accomplish lately, and I combined two of my goals.  Helping out local crime watch and volunteering at the sheriff’s office are close enough to be considered one, I think.  They both have to do with my desire to give back to my community as well as put a stop to crime.

We have, unfortunately, had a number of run-ins with local criminals.

Two years ago our house was broken into, while my children were at home, and my laptop and external hard drive were stolen off of my dining room table.  My daughter happened to walk out of her bedroom and find the thief half in/half out our back door.  She actually spoke to him; he claimed to be looking for a friend.  She later identified him for the police, and he is currently serving time for a string of break-ins in our town.  And, yes, I got my stuff back.

Back in September, my bicycle was stolen right out of my driveway.  This wasn’t just any bike.  I purchased that bike instead of a car.  It was my primary form of transportation.  I rode it to work, I rode it to the grocery store, I rode it for exercise, and I rode on the bike trail with friends for fun and as a social outlet.  I put a couple hundred miles on that bike per month, and for that reason I actually spent quite a bit of money on it; I wanted, and needed, a nice, comfortable, easy to ride bike. I never did get that one back, and have only recently accepted that I never will.

In addition, we have noticed certain things have come up missing from our garage (which we used to be in the habit of leaving open for brief periods of time in the past… though that does NOT happen anymore), like the grill set that my sister had given to us for Christmas a couple years back.  It had never been used, and was just sitting in the garage near the grill waiting for summertime…  *Poof*… Gone.

One day, in the middle of the night, a car drove up onto our lawn, the driver jumped out and ran between the houses to disappear into the *woods* behind our house (the woods being maybe 100 feet of trees and a retention pond).  The windshield of the car was cracked.  No, not just cracked, seriously broken.  We called the police and we were informed that someone had run down a motorcyclist right around the corner.  The windshield of the car was broken where the motorcyclist had hit it.  The driver of the car had taken off, and apparently thought our front yard was a good place to dump the vehicle (which was, obviously, stolen).

I started to get mad.  I considered moving.  Then one day I realized that you can’t run away from crime.  Unless you live in a really dangerous neighborhood, which we don’t.  The criminal activity we were noticing was the sort of criminal activity you find anywhere and everywhere.  If you try and run from it you will ALWAYS be running.

So instead of running I decided to fight back.  I thought that maybe if I become closely involved in local law enforcement, got to know the local sheriff’s deputies, became more familiar with the area, and with what to watch out for, that I would be less likely to be a victim.  I researched what it would take to start my own neighborhood watch program, and how to build an effective one.  I searched out crime watch groups already established in the area.  I signed up for, and completed, the “Citizen’s Academy”, a program our local Sheriff’s office offers to give citizens an inside look into how the local police operate.  I filled out a volunteer application for the Sheriff’s office, and I also found a local crime patrol that was in need of volunteers and I filled out an application to work with them as well.

Turns out the crime patrol and the sheriff’s office require you get fingerprinted and background checks must be completed before you can work with them.  In addition, the Sheriff’s office has a volunteer orientation that you have to attend.

These aren’t really unreasonable requirements.  Until you find out that they only do fingerprinting during regular Mon-Fri business hours, and they only offer the orientation from 1pm – 4pm.

I have a job.  I work during those hours.

So I asked, “Can’t I get fingerprinted at the police station near my work?  Then I could go at lunch.”

Nope… you have to come here, and it has to be during those hours.  😦

We have an approved adoptive home study!  We’ve been approved to adopt a child from foster care!  Can you just trust their background checks?!?

No! You have to come here, and it has to be during those hours!

I can’t, and won’t, take time off of work to attend orientation or get fingerprinted so that I can volunteer.  I am already taking time off of work and altering my schedule on occasion for the adoption.  My employer is absolutely understanding when I have to take time off for meetings with social workers, but a person’s employer can only be expected to be understanding for so much…  My job has to take priority.

I noticed on the Sheriff’s office volunteer application, where they ask you what areas you would be interested in volunteering for, fingerprinting was one of the options.

I hereby volunteer to assist with fingerprinting and coordinate volunteer orientation sessions in the evenings, after 6pm.  When I, and the rest of the working world, can make it to the office to get it done.

Categories: Government & Politics | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Should volunteering really be this difficult?

  1. Pingback: The Start of a Conversation « Real Life, Cats, and Light Bulbs…

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