The Commander of the Sheriff's Auxiliary, Eric Vought, will be giving a talk on Tuesday 2 September on the potential of Ebola and other disease threats, what the expected response would be in the case of a major pandemic, and what can be done in the community to make weathering such events easier. The talk will summarize current knowledge of Ebola, try to dispel unreasonable fears and yet take a no-nonsense approach to the dangers which might exist. If a pandemic occurred, what could you do to protect your family and help the community respond?
This last weekend (the 13th through 15th June), the Auxiliary completed an annual deployment exercise, testing its call-up system, check-in and staging, and then remaining in the field for 24 hours. During this time, we conducted nighttime cattle patrols and daylight reconnaissance covering over 200 square miles of Lawrence County.
The Auxiliary's first Weapon's Retention class was held today at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Mount Vernon. Volunteers spent the morning learning about firearm safety in the home, in vehicles, and when carrying on the street. They got time to practice trying to disarm each other and protect their weapons from being taken by an attacker. Whether or not we wear uniforms, if we own or carry weapons, we have an ethical responsibility to not let bad guys get them from us.
We have had several unplanned website outages in the past two weeks. In order to hopefully correct some of these issues, the hosting provider is going to migrate the site to a different server which may take several hours. The site will be taken down after midnight on 9 June and it will come back up in the early morning of 10 June. By scheduling it this way, the materials for the CLA-2 class on the 9th should be available through the class.
Over the last weekend, the Sheriff's Auxiliary has been working very closely with the Mount Vernon Police Department to provide supplementary night-time patrols to help protect area businesses. More than half of our volunteers took time out of their weekend to deploy in the middle of the night and patrol or sit in unmarked vehicles in addition to the staff overhead of planning, coordinating, and equipping patrols (plus filing paperwork). We intend to continue working with the MVPD to supplement their manpower for night-time patrols for the forseeable future.
The Sheriff's Auxiliary completed it's first round of patrols to protect against livestock theft in the early morning hours of 16 February. The 16th was a full moon, which is a hig-risk period for rustling. Volunteers, coordinating with County Dispatch, spent four hours covering approximately 100 square miles of northwest Lawrence County. The Livestock Patrol program allows the Sheriff's Office to more effectively use limited numbers of deputies in the late night and early morning.
The Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (the court with jurisdiction over the Western United States) released a decision today (PDF) in Peruta v. San Diego striking down a California requirement for showing "good cause" to obtain a firearm carry permit, affirming that to "bear arms" is as much of a protected right as keeping them.
This week the Sheriff's Auxiliary is scrambling to make last minute preparations for our Apple Butter Makin' Days deployment. Apple Butter Makin' Days is Lawrence County's largest annual festival, held in Mount Vernon with attendance of approximately 25,000 people. Although the festival is exciting and a big draw for the city, it places a huge burden on emergency planners which could not be met without the help of many volunteers. This year the LCSA is deploying under the Mount Vernon Police to assist in parade and night security patrols during the festival weekend, resulting in long hours on graveyard shifts.