Retirees donate 75,000 hours valued at $1.7 million to FPD

By Tony Dodero

They make routine vacation checks, restock patrol cars with toys and emergency kits, man the streets during the Fullerton Farmers Market and file paperwork.

Members of the Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol have donated more than 75,000 hours equating to more than $1.7 million volunteer dollars to the police department since 2000.

Two volunteers who have clocked the most hours are Ellie Grainger and Myron Roberts, both 82.

“I enjoy helping other people and that is one way I can do it,” said Grainger, who started volunteering in October of 1995 and has given about 4,000 hours of service. “We do vacation checks, help with traffic. Whatever we can do to free up the officers for what they need to do.”

Ellie Grainger

Ellie Grainger

It’s not her first brush with law enforcement. Right after high school, she was hired on to be a secretary for the FBI in Washington D.C. She had to quit that job and move to Fullerton nearly 50 years ago when her husband got a job transfer. She lived in Fullerton for 38 years, raising two kids, but moved to Yorba Linda in 2002 after her husband passed away.

Roberts, a longtime Fullerton resident who also raised his family here, also had an interest in law enforcement. After a stint in the military during the Korean War, Roberts said he signed up for the OC Sheriff’s Academy with the hopes of becoming a deputy. But his wife didn’t want him to pursue that career path.

He even tried to get hired on to the Fullerton Police Department a couple years later but that wasn’t to be either. So he instead pursued a long career with Ford Aerospace in Newport Beach, working as a machinist and other jobs until he retired in 1994.

It was after attending a meeting at the local American Legion post that he heard about the Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol, and he joined in 1998.

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Myron Roberts

“Well it’s been a good experience,” said Roberts who used to put in 14 hours a week but cut down now that he’s in his 80s. He’s clocked more than 7,000 hours of service. “There have been several times when we really felt we helped the public out.”

Roberts said at first he worked in narcotics and later did vacation checks, which weren’t that easy on him because at 6 feet 5 inches tall, he has trouble getting in and out of the car. Nowadays, he works in the Records Department and he likes that just fine.

“I put all the criminal citations into the computer,” he said. “I’ve been doing that for 10 years. They are a wonderful group of officers down there. I love it.”

Below are just a few of the assignments that the RSVP’s provide for the department on a continual basis:

• iWatch program
• Staff traffic window to answer questions
• Assist with citizen academy in all facets
• DUI checkpoints
• Patrol city parks, parking lots, vacation checks of residences
• Welcome Neighbor program
• Assist code enforcement with removal of illegal signage (old garage sale signs, fundraisers signs that are expired, etc.)
• Traffic control at critical events like the March 2014 earthquake, and at traffic collisions where long term closures are needed
• National Night Out assistance
• Assist Fire Department with annual pancake breakfast
• Special Olympics coordination and support
• Relay for Life assistance
• Return Home Registry
• St. Jude Wellness Program (visit those that need assistance referred by St. Jude)

“The RSVP program and its volunteers are an integral part of the Fullerton Police Department,” said FPD Sgt. Kathryn Hamel “They give of themselves to their community and we are truly grateful for their service. The duties shared by the RSVPs allow officers to focus on calls for service, investigations, etc.”