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Police volunteers at your service

Introducing a group of people who work for free to improve public safety in Glendale.

January 14, 2011|By Veronica Rocha,
(Tim Berger )

Instead of basking in their golden years, six longtime Glendale residents decided to take on a new job — volunteer patrollers for the Police Department.

On Wednesday, the group became the latest members of the department's Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol program, known as RSVP.

Before being certified, they were trained in police radio communication, city streets, equipment, patrol operations, and the basics of narcotics and gangs.

The volunteer service is especially critical amid budget pressures brought on by the protracted recession, Police Chief Ron De Pompa said.

"The one lifeline that we have had is the great support from the community, especially in terms of their volunteer hours to help us keep this community safe," he said.

Forty-five senior volunteers have dedicated more than 10,000 hours to the police department, program coordinator Alma Bullock said, saving the city $236,183.


"Volunteers in the program and in any organization are an intricate part and, in today's economy, more so," Bullock said. "Here they are valued and respected by everybody."

And all of them had their own reasons for joining.

Vartan Hovnanian

The longtime Glendale resident joined the RSVP program to help put an end to pedestrian traffic collisions.

Misak Ranjbar, 80, who was killed Sept. 15 while crossing Columbus and California avenues, was a childhood friend. Hovnanian, 56, said he knew Ranjbar for roughly 45 years.

"We are trying as much as we can to help in this pedestrian safety program," he said.

Hovnanian, who emigrated from Iran in 1985 to the U.S., is hoping to reach out to fellow Armenians on traffic safety issues.

"I noticed a lot of Armenians are getting killed in pedestrian walks," he said. "Now, I am going to Glendale parks and churches to educate them so we can bring down the number of persons who get killed."

Hovnanian said he will continue to operate his Glendale-based insurance company.

During the evenings, Hovnanian helps deliver medical supplies to homebound patients.

Roland Roesch

The 82-year-old sales executive has worked most of his life and isn't planning to stop anytime soon.

"You just keep going," he said.

While juggling his volunteer duties for police and the Glendale Fire Department, Roesch will continue to operate Roland Consulting. He also works for a New York-based company.

"He has one fault," De Pompa said. "Roland must be watched closely because he keeps threatening to drive a police car down Glendale Avenue with the lights and sirens activated."

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