More volunteer COPS needed to protect Franklin County

These volunteers help lighten the load on law enforcement

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. – Volunteers in Franklin County are taking a hands-on approach to help out the Sheriff's Office.

They're part of the Citizens on Patrol program (COPS). They direct traffic, help stranded drivers and patrol schools and neighborhoods.

"It makes you feel kind of good to know you've done something to prevent a dangerous situation," said Greg Tornatore, a COPS volunteer who has been part of the program since it started in 2012.

"Helping people out and watching their houses and stuff is what keeps me coming back," said Jill Desaulniers, another COPS volunteer.

Before anyone can put on a uniform or get behind the wheel of a cruiser, volunteers need to take two different trainings.

Lt. Erik Mollin runs the program. In 2018 alone, he says volunteers put in more than 2,000 hours, which is much more than the eight-hour monthly minimum. He also says the volunteers' work saved the department more than $41,000.

"It's allowing us to concentrate more on the criminal aspect and safety of our community," Mollin said.

Currently, there are 27 "COPS", but the Sheriff's Office needs more volunteers, like Greg and Jill, to put in the extra hours, patrol the streets and protect their community.

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