During his 19 years of service in Orange County, Florida, Dr. Ross Wolf has annually engaged nearly 100 sworn volunteer law enforcement officers that collectively provide more than 25,000 hours of volunteer time for a variety of community functions, including fundraising events and parades, patrol and law enforcement functions, and other special assignments like disaster preparedness.
Dr. Wolf recalls how his passion for working with the law enforcement reserve unit began at an early age. “As a college student I participated in a ride-along with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office,” Wolf says, “and I loved the interaction between the community and the deputies who worked in patrol. Shortly thereafter I talked to a recruiter about volunteering for the agency, and learned about the Reserve Unit.”
Drawing on his own experience as a young person, Dr. Wolf would later develop the Law Enforcement Training Corps Program, which provides college students with job shadowing and ride-along opportunities. This exposure can pave the way for qualified individuals to seek reserve and full-time deputy positions within the agency. Dr. Wolf also helped develop a command structure within the Reserve Unit that mirrors that of the sheriff’s office so that participation and volunteerism in the reserve unit can be recognized and rewarded.
His role in strengthening the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Unit has yielded phenomenal support that helps the Orlando community, but the success of this work has also brought some challenges. Dr. Wolf says his unit can become inundated with requests for assistance, and that many citizens do not appreciate that the reserve volunteers their time, as they wear identical uniforms as the full-time officers.
Dr. Wolf has carried his enthusiasm for law enforcement to the University of Central Florida, where he is Associate Dean in the College of Health and Public Affairs and Associate Professor of Criminal Justice in the Department of Criminal Justice. His experience with community issues related to law enforcement has taken him to international police agencies, where he offers guidance to help others abroad to enhance their reserve programs.
This dedicated volunteer leader says he gets much of his identity from his lifelong affiliation with law enforcement, particularly where the work intersects with community education. He notes, “As a public safety volunteer, my most rewarding experience continues to be the wonderful men and women that I work with who go through continuous training, month-after-month, in order to give to their community.”
If you know someone like Dr. Ross Wolf who has tirelessly committed themselves to their community, nominate them today for the Daily Point of Light Award at http://www.pointsoflight.org/programs/recognition/dpol/nomination .