Frequently, you see a vehicle driving through your neighborhood looking almost like a Sheriff's Patrol car.
Many times, you'll see uniformed men and women standing in the streets, blocking traffic at a parade or an accident; controlling the traffic and directing citizens to parking areas or an alternate route.
They are called to service by the Department of Public Safety, other police departments and the fire departments. In the winter, when the storms create impassable roads, you will see people dressed in uniforms and winter gear with reflective jackets there to turn you back from dangerous roads.
Who are these people? They are the Sheriff's Auxiliary Volunteers of Navajo County, Inc., community volunteers aiding in many services as requested and approved by the Navajo County Sheriff.
They serve under the auspices of Sheriff K. C. Clark, who recognizes and approves of services requested by the communities in the county. However, the ‘SAVs' are independent associates with their own corporate standing with the IRS and the Arizona State Corporation Commission. It is a very professional and dedicated association.
The volunteers are generous and dedicated individuals who are often called-out in the case of sudden emergencies when are contacted by their Unit Directors.
There are six individual but cooperative Units on the mountain who most often work together for each other wherever they are.
Most of the volunteers are retirees; however several still have jobs or are here only six months of the year. When the summer volunteers are here, their are approximately 90 officers serving during the busiest months for city events and holidays.
Donations are frequently given to the corporation for their services and these funds are separate and reported to the IRS under the Exempt Organization rules. The Sheriff's Office provides the vehicles, vehicle repair and fuel. The funds received provide the SAVs with special communication devices, emergency equipment and patches for uniforms.
Being a charitable corporation under strict rules, they are frequently donating bicycles for children, fingerprinting school children for their parents' records, and giving funds to the Christmas programs.
They are proud to patrol areas within neighborhoods to make a presence known to deter burglaries and assure citizens that they are ‘there' for them. There are requests for individual house patrols, especially from those who are gone during the winter season.
The volunteers are the extra eyes and ears of the county which save taxpayers multiple thousands of dollars in extra Deputy pay.
Deputies must enforce the laws in the county and there are never enough in any county to be everywhere at the same time! SAVs answer to welfare-checks from relatives who are not close enough to check on their relatives and friends if they can't make contact. They stand watch 24 hours for crime scenes, road blocks, fire scenes and many other emergencies. Every unit cooperates in serving the far-spread unit areas in service. From Pinetop to Winslow and the very rural areas, the SAVs are called to travel and volunteer many hours.
Every 4th of July, the cities and unincorporated areas are the most challenging. Most have parades, fireworks, vendors, games for children, all requiring special protection and safety. Where ever a need is present the SAVs are present to protect and serve.
The Sheriff's Auxiliary Recruits attend an academy each year, taught by the Sheriff's qualified instructors. This year, the academy will begin September 7, and is held each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the Northern Arizona Training Center from 6 P.M. to 9 P.M. Graduation will occur before the end of September.
The SAVs are currently recruiting for the Academy; many are couples while others are individually volunteers.
This professional organization welcomes all those who wish to serve their communities and the County. Volunteers serve when they are available or able. Once graduated, volunteers serve in full uniform with a flag on their hearts and the Sheriff's patches on sleeves and chest.
Those who want more information and or to apply for the organization should contact President Efrain Quihuis at (928) 535-9085; cell (928) 240-2029 and leave a message if necessary.