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Volunteer Units


Citizen Observer Patrol (C.O.P.S.)

The Citizens Observer Patrol (C.O.P.S.) is a volunteer division of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) whose main purpose is to reduce crime by alerting the Sheriff’s Office of potential or actual criminal behavior. The program is comprised of neighborhoods, much like your own, that have decided to ensure the safety of their community by forming a partnership with the MCSO. Volunteers wear uniforms and drive specially-marked vehicles that proudly display to any potential criminal that they are the eyes and ears of law enforcement within that community. The Citizens Observer Patrol program is an effective approach to residential safety, awareness and involvement. By its visibility in specially marked vehicles and personal identifications, the C.O.P.S. serves as a strong deterrent against unlawful actions of potential criminals. Considerable credit for the reduction of crime rates is attributed to the presence of the motorized Citizens Observer Patrols on the streets of participating neighborhoods.

Volunteer Marine Patrols

(Lake Watch & Rainbow River Watch) were established to provide MCSO with additional observation capabilities on Marion County waterways.  Both marine units are composed of civilian volunteers who operate under the direction of the Sheriff by providing additional patrols on Lake Weir and the Rainbow River.

Internal Support Volunteers

Provide additional manpower to assist MCSO in its day-to-day operations, as well as other specialized duties. Volunteers are actively recruited and trained to assist in a variety of clerical support positions throughout the agency.

Homeland Security Patrol

Was implemented in 2002, to provide enhanced visibility at strategic locations throughout the county.  Through its existence, the Homeland Security Patrol inspires citizens to become more vigilant in our quest to rid terrorism from our community.  Volunteers receive specialized training to identify unusual circumstances or events while conducting security checks on key infrastructures.

The Funeral Escort Unit

Was established in 1996, this volunteer unit is touted as the first of its kind in Florida, and perhaps the nation.  This unit assists local funeral home directors by providing an escort for all funeral processions in Marion County.  Members of this volunteer unit are authorized to direct traffic, as needed, while escorting the funeral procession to its final destination. In 2008, this unit escorted 605 funeral processions and drove almost 47,000 miles.

Community Patrols

Are duly authorized volunteers, with no arrest powers who work under the direction and control of the Sheriff. They serve as additional eyes and ears to the Sheriff and his deputies. By and through their existence, Community Patrols act as a deterrent to criminal activity and affords the county with a unique crime prevention resource.

Deputy Cadet Program

This program is charted by the Boy Scouts of America, and membership is open to youth with good character between the ages of 14 and 21. The mission of the Cadet Program is to introduce its participants to an exciting career in law enforcement, by assisting its them in developing desirable qualities, while teaching leadership skills. Deputy Cadets also assist the agency by providing volunteer support at community events (i.e. finger printing, parking at large functions, and distributing educational materials).

Cadet Program Presentation

Please click on the following link to view the Presentation.

  • Cadet Program Presentation

If you are interested in the Cadet Program please fill out this application. Thank you!

  • Cadet Application