BY BARRY WARNER
Auxiliary police officers are attached to a Police Department and provide support to full-time officers. Generally, auxiliary police officers are volunteers who serve out of a sense of civic duty, not for financial gain.
“My mission is to serve the community and work with a great group of guys and the Clarkstown Police Department,” Thomas Krasinski told the Rockland County Times. “I have volunteered with the Auxiliary Police for 25 years and during that time I have been a sergeant and assistant squad leader. The training I received included the use of the baton, mace or pepper spray, handcuffs, CPR, first aid, use of the defibrillator and took the (EVOC) Emergency Vehicle Operator Course. When I’m driving, I’m the ‘eyes and ears’ of the Police Department. If we see anything suspicious, we call it in. A lot of our duties involve traffic control at parades, school graduations and carnivals. We help people cross the street and make sure nobody interferes with the parade.”
“If people need medical assistance, I would get on the radio first thing and call for medics,” he continued. “Traffic control involves the safety of pedestrians crossing the street. We are issued reflective vests and gloves and flashlights. We wear bulletproof vest on every detail. The caution of using mace is not to get the backlash of getting it in your own eyes. The use of the expandable baton is a last measure if someone is attacking you.”
The communities and locations in Clarkstown covered by the Police Department and the Auxiliary Police include Bardonia, Central Nyack, Congers, Lake DeForest, High Tor State Park, Germonds, Hook Mountain State Park, Mount Ivy, Nanuet, New City, Nyack Beach State Park, Rockland Lake State Park, Spring Valley (east portion), Upper Nyack, Valley Cottage and West Nyack.
In other jurisdictions, Auxiliary Officers may be assigned to perform uniformed patrol in certain neighborhoods. This includes patrolling on foot, bicycle or by car. Generally, they serve in non-enforcement and less dangerous duties that their full-time colleagues. Auxiliary Police Officers often enforce highway laws and direct traffic, particularly after an accident in high-congestion areas and on unsafe roads. They are also called on for crowd management duties during large events, such as concerts, sporting events and parades. They may accompany full-time officers when responding to an emergency call, act as translators or operate an emergency hotline.
The EVOC courses are designed to enhance vehicle safety operations by emphasizing principles of defensive driving in emergency and non-emergency situations. The course explains the importance of emergency vehicle driving, the impact of vehicle accidents to the driver and the organization, responsibilities for safe emergency vehicles operation and the factors that contribute to an incident involving emergency vehicles. There will be an essential understanding of the complexities of driving under emergency conditions, the hazards of intersections and the risks of backing apparatus and vehicles. Defensive driving techniques include space management, following distance and rate of closure.
Traffic control is essential at an accident scene to prevent further mishaps or injuries. Rerouting vehicles around the accident scene is the most common procedure used and spectators or unnecessary personnel are cleared from the scene. Auxiliary Police carry a long light-tube, have a whistle, reflective gloves and a vest. If the motorist does not obey commands, the license plate number is recorded and called into the Police Department.
Pepper spray is made from an extract of chili peppers and usually comes in an aerosol container, so it can be sprayed quickly and easily. Since it is portable and easy to use, pepper spray is a popular option for both law enforcement and personal use. When sprayed into the face of the attacker, it is extremely irritating to the skin, eyes, mouth, throat and lungs. Its effect is immediate and it can distract a person long enough for the police officer to take control of the subject.
The Kevlar in bulletproof vests is fabricated into very fine threads, which are woven together to form a web. When wearing a bulletproof vest, it has to fit properly. These vests are not made in a one-size-fits-all format, as they are made to fit exact body types and heights.
The Clarkstown Auxiliary Police program is a great opportunity to get an up-close look at law enforcement. For others, the Auxiliary program provides an opportunity to give back to the community while pursuing other careers.
For additional information about the Clarkstown Auxiliary Police or to volunteer, contact Captain Darryl Draper at 845-639-5887.