Emporia — With training under their belts and official navy blue shirts on their backs, more than a dozen retirees are ready to hit the streets as volunteers for the Lyon County Sheriff's Department.
They're members of the Senior Patrol, a program that allows retired residents to assist the sheriff's department in the community and in the office.
About 18 people have completed the training and will have one more meeting before they begin work April 2.
Sheriff's Deputy Pat Stevenson is in charge of the Senior Patrol, which is jointly sponsored by the Sheriff's Department and the Lyon County Department on Aging.
At a recent briefing session, Stevenson said the volunteers' duties would include checking the homes of people away on vacation, keeping a watchful eye on critical infrastructure such as power plants and looking out for stalled motorists.
"In the community there will be more consistency in home checks," Stevenson said. "Although we do our best to get to those, sometimes they can't get done."
Indoor responsibilities could include issuing and filing burn permits, serving in the kitchen, doing some clerical work such as charting mileage on cars and gas usage and assisting the Department of Emergency Management, Stevenson said.
"It will take some weight off of the shoulders of deputies and administration," he said.
Each member of the Senior Patrol will work up to a four-hour shift and will work between sunup and sundown, Stevenson said.
So far, the group has covered ways to do home checks and tactical ways to approach a stalled car. They have received training on how to work police radios as well, where to get fuel and how to turn the lights on the squad cars.
Senior Patrol members will have ID badges and navy blue shirts that will identify them as being a part of Senior Patrol. They will drive patrol cars for now, Stevenson said.
Those who go out in Lyon County in squad cars will go in pairs, Stevenson said.
Emporia residents A.J. and Ida Schierling, married 47 years, plan to go out together.
"It sounded interesting," Ida Schierling said. "Plus, we're retired and we have time."
Darlene and Patrick Buck, of Emporia, also plan to volunteer together and have been married for 45 years this year.
"It will help free up the Sheriff's Department for more important things," Darlene Buck said. "And like everybody else, we have a lot of time."