A few years ago Mike Provost was looking for a way to give back to the community.
The 42-year-old computer software specialist had always been intrigued by a career in law enforcement.
So when he learned the Collier County Sheriff’s Office had an auxiliary deputy program, he saw it as an opportunity to do both.
Provost completed CCSO’s Auxiliary Deputy Training Academy and has been an auxiliary deputy since 2008.
“Now I’m able to help my community in a way that not everybody can, and it’s extremely rewarding,” said Provost.
CCSO is looking for volunteers interested in training to become a state-recognized law enforcement officer without making it an occupation.
Auxiliary deputies are volunteers who serve as sworn law enforcement officers. They are authorized to wear a uniform, carry a firearm, make arrests, collect evidence, prepare reports and testify in court.
“Auxiliary deputies are vital to the high level of service the Sheriff’s Office provides the community,” said Lt. Mike Jones, who is looking for new recruits to participate in the agency’s auxiliary deputy academy slated to begin this fall.
Although they serve in an unpaid capacity, auxiliary deputies are highly trained. The academy runs for three months, with classes conducted three times a week. The curriculum includes constitutional law, civil and domestic laws, courtroom demeanor, firearms training, first aid, unarmed defensive tactics, and patrol techniques.
Applicants must be at least 21 years old. They must have a high school diploma or GED, be a U.S. citizen, and be of good moral character with no recent or extensive use of illegal substances.
Applicants undergo a screening process that includes testing and interviews. If a conditional offer is extended they will be given a polygraph exam, physical exam, psychological exam and undergo a background investigation. Once they become an auxiliary deputy, they must devote at least 15 hours per month to the program.
Provost estimated he puts in about 75-100 hours a month with the Sheriff’s Office, volunteering most weekends and evenings.
In addition to working crowd control and traffic control and providing security at special events, Provost has responded to homicides and suicides, made arrests and done other things as an auxiliary deputy, he said.
Charles Montgomery has been a CCSO auxiliary deputy for 10 years. The 74-year-old Naples ophthalmologist said he was looking for something that would challenge him mentally and physically, while allowing him to give back to the community. Being an auxiliary deputy allows him to do that, he said.
Montgomery has done everything from break up fights to chase fleeing suspects. He even saved a life by performing CPR. He said he averages about 120 hours a month as an auxiliary deputy.
Montgomery said one of his favorite parts of being an auxiliary deputy is all of the training he gets, from weapons to CPR to investigations, in addition to the annual training required for auxiliaries.
But the best part of his job, and why he continues to do it, are his co-workers, he said.
“The people I work with are just the greatest,” Montgomery said. “They’re just solid, salt of the earth people.”
Provost said he strongly suggests anyone with an interest in law enforcement apply for the academy.
“I’ve got a pretty good career in software,” he said. “Being able to do this on a volunteer basis and to help out is fantastic.”
If you have questions, call 239.252.0530, or e-mail email@example.com. To fill out an employment application online, go to the CCSO website, www.colliersheriff.org, go to the pull-down tab labeled “How Do I?” then go to “Get A Career,” and click on “Auxiliary Deputies.”