The White Hall police and volunteer fire departments would like to add a few good men and women to their volunteer roosters.
The police department has 14 full-time paid officers and 14 volunteer officers, while the fire department has 25 on the volunteer roster. Two members of the fire department receive a stipend for the additional hours they are required to work. Volunteers are not paid for the time they put in.
“We can always use more,” observed Police Chief Richard Wingard. Fire Chief Sandy Castleberry sees a need for more volunteers that are available during the day when many of the regulars on the rooster are at work and out of town.
Volunteers for both departments must make a commitment to obtain the necessary training: 100 evening and weekend hours over 12 weeks for police candidates and 32-hours in three classes over the first year for firefighters.
The city pays for all equipment required by the volunteers, who must undergo background investigations. That means a substantial investment by the municipality for turnout gear for firemen and everything from uniforms to service weapon for policemen.
“We are always looking for qualified individuals,” Mayor Noel Foster said, adding that White Hall has always been very selective in volunteers for the two departments.
Volunteer firefighters and police must realize they have a “sworn duty to respond” in meeting their obligation to the community and fellow citizens, Foster emphasized.
“It takes someone special to put your life on the line and not get paid for it,” the mayor noted.
Both Castleberry and Wingard said they have no specific goals in mind in recruiting volunteers, but want to identify some good candidates.
Many smaller communities depend on volunteers to perform vital public safety roles. The volunteers are recognized for those contributions to their fellow citizens.