Law enforcement agencies traditionally have been in place to enforce the laws of the land and maintain order within their separate jurisdictions. Before the advent of the police radio and the patrol car, order was maintained by the presence of law enforcement personnel who closely interacted with the public they worked for - the era of the "beat cop". Law enforcement began to change once police officers were placed inside cars and police radio calls sent officers to investigate reported incidents of trouble. Civil unrest during the 1960s and 70s served to widen the separation between law enforcement officers and the community, creating an "us versus them" mentality.
Starting in the 1980s and gaining momentum in the 90s, law enforcement agencies began developing programs designed to bridge the gap between officers and the public. The need for "Community Oriented Policing" had been identified and programs were created across the country to fill this need.
One such program the Grover Beach Police Department implemented was the "Citizen Assistance Team" or "C.A.T." The concept for the team had been introduced in the late 1990s with the format for operations and the program's name developed by Sergeant Chris Sweeton. Once the program and its goals were identified, it was launched officially in November 1999, just in time for the new Millennium. Now in 2010, the Grover Beach Volunteer Program has consolidated with Arroyo Grande and Pismo Beach Police Departments forming the first joint coordinated "South County Police Volunteers". This program gives all three cities the ability to have a great volunteer's team with many more opportunities.
For further information on the South County Police Volunteer Program, contact Sergeant Chris Sweeton at the Grover Beach Police Department's non-emergency number: (805) 473-4501.