a p r i l 2 0 1 6 A L I V E E A S T B A Y 23 Darren chose the activities he enjoyed the most and had no difficulty putting in the minimum of sixteen hours per month that are required to remain active. Patrolling the neighborhoods was one of Darren’s favorite duties. It seemed that on each patrol he was able to help make Danville a better place. On one patrol he saw a young bike rider take a bad spill. His quick call had the fire department’s medics on scene in minutes, and they informed the parents of the accident. Because there is only a limited number of sworn officers on duty at any one time, and on occasion more than one incident requires the police to respond, Darren was able to assist an officer with traffic control around the accident. One of the highlights of his first year was in helping locate a missing young child. The incident was initiated by a call from a distraught parent. The youngster failed to return home from school at the usual time. This type of occurrence is treated with the highest police priority. Detectives interview teachers, parents, and friends. Patrol officers roam the streets, and bike and motorcycle officers work the trails. On some occasions even the Sheriff’s Department helicopter can be activated as well as the Search and Rescue teams. Fortunately in this case the child was quickly found at a friend’s house—just having a post-school snack. Also during this event Darren was able to watch the Danville Police K9 dog and the K9 officer do their thing. Most of the time one associates the K9 with a crime. For example, he may nose out hidden drugs in a car or find a perpetrator out of sight in a garage. But in this case the dog’s sensitive nose followed the child’s path from school to a friend’s home. The most prevalent use of the VIPS occurs at the many special events hosted by the Town of Danville. These include the Fourth of July Parade, the car shows, and the periodic street fairs. We see the white shirted volunteers walking the streets, answering the simple questions like, “Where are the toilets?” to the scary ones, “I can’t find my child.” We could go on and on and on listening to or reading about Darren’s adventures. But like most things in life, it’s necessary to move on. It is my hope that in these two stories about the Danville Police Department VIPS that you have found a better sense of the sometimes overlooked umbrella of security we all enjoy. We may go days, months, even years without contact with the police. But they are there, 24-7, watching. Thank goodness….
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