MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is seeking qualified candidates to volunteer as Special Deputies.

Special Deputies perform public safety duties at community events, crime scenes, on water, and during emergencies. The Sheriff’s Office currently has 125 Special Deputies, who provided more than 15,300 hours of service in 2011 alone.

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Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek says Special Deputies are indispensable.

“Special Deputies are extremely dedicated people who provide a critical component to emergency preparedness. When disaster strikes, we call on our highly-trained volunteers who are ready and able to assist,” said Stanek.

These volunteers have responded to many major public safety incidents and events, such as the north Minneapolis tornado, the 35W Bridge Collapse, and the Republican National Convention.

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Daily responsibilities may include searching for a missing child, helping a stranded motorist, or directing traffic around a crime scene.

Special Deputies are needed for four volunteer units: Emergency Squad, Water Patrol, Mounted Patrol (horseback), and Mobile Amateur Radio Corps (MARC).

Prior law enforcement experience is not needed to volunteer. To qualify as a Special Deputy, you must be at least 21 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, hold a valid driver’s license, be a United States citizen and pass a background investigation.

The initial training program requires completion of the Sheriff’s Office Reserve School which takes place one night per week, for ten weeks.

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The deadline to apply is July 28, 2012. More information can be found on the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office website, or call Sgt. Jennifer Johnson at (612)596-9818.