When you go to work on Monday, and someone asks, “What did you do this weekend?”, wouldn’t it be great to say, “I saved a life”? There is little that is more satisfying than making a difference in someone’s life. What better way than volunteering for the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Special Deputy Unit. For the more than 100 volunteers, making a difference happens often. They use their skills and dedicated service to help connect the Sheriff’s Office to the community with specialized training, through educational workshops, and heavy involvement in community events. Think you’re too old? More than half of the Special Deputies are over 40 years of age. Regardless of your age, experience level, or chosen occupation, knowing you are making a difference in your community is extremely rewarding.

  • Volunteers are highly-trained and carry out essential duties.
  • Volunteers don’t have to enter the program with experience in law enforcement or emergency medicine. The Sheriff’s Office provides extensive training.
  • Most volunteers give their time because they want to help their community.
  • You must be at least 21-years-old and undergo a background investigation to serve as a special deputy.

Regardless of the unit, all special deputies need to have a strong desire to help others, compassion, and time. The initial training program to become a special deputy is a seven week Reserve School which takes place for three hours, one night per week. Once sworn in as a Special Deputy, classroom and field training will continue throughout the year. All special deputies are required to volunteer 192 hours per year – or just 16 hours per month.

Hennepin County Sheriff special deputies have many reasons for wanting to volunteer their time. Some are interested in furthering their career in law enforcement. Most are looking for a way to better serve their community. They are our eyes and ears and take pride in serving with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.

Special deputies volunteer their time to serve with four different units all under the Volunteer Service Division of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, each offering a unique volunteer experience.  To learn more, please contact SGT Cline at 612-328-7555 or at bret.cline@hennepin.us.  To apply directly and read application requirements, click here.

Click HERE to watch a youtube video of our volunteers in action!

Patrol Support

Patrol Support special deputies are highly-trained civilian volunteers who respond to personal injury accidents, medical emergencies and natural disasters.

Patrol Support is a specialty unit comprised of special deputies who provide emergency support services to the Sheriff’s Office as well as police and fire departments throughout Hennepin County.

You will receive training that allows you to respond to personal injury vehicle accidents, medical emergencies, assist in water rescues, and natural disasters. Your future Patrol Support could include dignitary protection or adding a uniform presence while a secured crime scene in being processed.

Patrol Support special deputies are highly-trained civilian volunteers who respond to personal injury accidents, medical emergencies and natural disasters.

Communications Response Team

As part of the Communications Division, CRT special deputies are trained to operate the mobile radio command vehicle, which provides on-scene communications during emergency and non-emergency public safety events.

The Communications Response Team, or CRT, is an all-volunteer group of special deputies who hold Amateur Radio Technician Class Licenses.

Team members are experienced communicators who incorporate their knowledge of radio systems and communication protocols to keep important information flowing during a detail. CRT members regularly practice several different functions that assist incident commanders by coordinating responding resources through communications including other volunteer groups such as American Red Cross, Salvation Army and the amateur radio community.

Special Deputies staff and operate a 37-foot mobile information and communications center (ICC) containing five dispatch positions and communication equipment for any contingency. The highly specialized volunteers and equipment provide on-scene communications ranging from public safety events to natural disasters.

Mounted Support Team

Mounted Patrol special deputies volunteer their time and horses to make special appearances at parades and special events in Hennepin County. The horses also serve as excellent tools in Search & Rescue situations.

The Mounted Patrol is a well-trained group of volunteer special deputies and their horses. Each member of the Mounted Patrol has their own horse, access to their own transportation (including a horse trailer) and personal boarding accommodations. All horses are required to pass medical qualifications as well as extensive training to test temperament and the ability to pass a sensory evaluation course. Mounted Patrol special deputies also receive extensive training on handling and manuevering their horses in formation for community events such as parades, crowd control details, and searching patterns during a missing person event.

Due to the nature of this position, Mounted Patrol horses and riders will be evaluated during a trial training basis for up to one year to ensure the horse and rider are able to learn the basic qualifications and skills of a Mounted Patrol special deputy.

Mounted Patrol special deputies volunteer their time and horses to make special appearances at parades and special events in Hennepin County. The horses also serve as excellent tools in Search & Rescue situations.

Water Patrol Support

Water Patrol special deputies patrol the waterways of Hennepin County in every season to ensure the public’s safety.

Water Patrol Support is responsible for assisting licensed officers on all water-related incidents within the county, enforcing statutory laws on waterways, and actively patrolling the 104 lakes and three major rivers in the county.

Water Patrol Support Special Deputies are required to pass a swim test to participate in this specialty position. Once this is achieved, Special Deputies will undergo an intensive classroom and field training program to include field enforcement techniques; laws and statutes, report writing, lake, river and county geography and sonar operation. They will also be trained in the operation and trailering of all Sheriff’s Office watercraft; air-boats, snow machines and all terrain vehicles. Personnel are also trained in emergency situations such as cold water rescue, swift water rescue and specialized emergency medical techniques related to an aquatic environment.

Water Patrol special deputies patrol the  waterways of Hennepin County in both the summer and winter months to ensure the public’s safety.

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