Breath-taking, above and beyond, exemplary, incredible, second to none.
Those were some of the words used March 16 to describe the Perris Citizens on Patrol and Mounted Posse, volunteers who donate thousands of hours each year to keep the City safe. Several of those volunteers were honored with awards at a ceremony attended by Perris elected officials and law-enforcement representatives held in the Perris Senior Center.
Tommy Thomas, 54, received the evening’s top honor, earning the Bob Hayes Award, named in memory of a longtime Public Safety Commissioner and law-enforcement advocate.
Other recipients included Citizens on Patrol volunteers Crystal Yakkey and Pat McAleavey; Outstanding Service Award; Patrol volunteers Gary Loomer and Penny Rasmussen; Merit Awards and Posse volunteers Kimber Cadenhead and Gerri Farris, Awards of Excellence.
Perris Mayor Daryl Busch led a contingent of City elected officials who extolled the volunteers’ spirit, which in 2015 resulted in nearly 3,200 hours of service, resulting in thousands of dollars in savings to City residents.
“It is an honor to recognize our Citizens on Patrol and Posse volunteers,” he said. “They provide essential help to our police department. They dedicate a lot of their lives to this community and they are available at all hours—morning, noon and night. They never seek recognition or compensation. Honoring them is the least we can do to show our appreciation for their stellar contributions.”
Mayor Pro-Tem Rita Rogers said the City is “blessed to have many great volunteers.”
“We have a core of longtime volunteers as well as people who’ve joined in recent years,” Rogers said. “Their commitment tells me they want to be engaged, involved and make our community a better place!”
City Councilwoman Tonya Burke called the Citizens on Patrol and Perris Posse volunteers “people who love their City.”
“They have a vested interest in serving their community,” Burke said. “They are extraordinarily dedicated and I have the utmost respect for them. They don’t care about rewards. They care about service.”
City Councilman David Starr Rabb, a prosecutor in San Bernardino, said public safety is the foundation of a vibrant and thriving community. Efforts of volunteers support the efforts of professional law enforcement, making Perris a safer City.
“Without a safe community, you really don’t have anything,” Rabb said. “I feel proud to represent a City where people are so committed to their community. These volunteers could be spending their time with their family but they instead have dedicated it to this City. It speaks volumes about them.”
City Councilman Mark Yarbrough said the Citizens on Patrol grew out of concerns from residents about burglaries when he was first elected about 20 years ago. The group formed in 1998.
The Perris Posse relocated to the City in 2010 from Jurupa and now calls the City home. Yarbrough said he is working with law enforcement to bring portable stables to house their horses when posse members work municipal events.
“People feel safe knowing these dedicated volunteers are out helping protect them,” Yarbrough said. “They make sure the rest of us are being taken care of. They are unequaled in their commitment.”