SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) - Gerald Hoege, better known as Jerry, joined the San Diego Sheriffs Department as a volunteer reserve deputy January 4, 1971. Fifty years later and he’s still dedicating his time to his community.
“I have to be very selfish in saying I love what I do. I enjoy the training, I enjoy the camaraderie, I enjoy being with other officers I can support,” said Jerry.
He’s fairly certain he’s the first volunteer to hit this multi-decade milestone, something he never would have imagined when he first started.
“The 50 year mark never even crossed my mind, wasn’t even in the future,” he said.
There are currently about 60 volunteers with the department. As a volunteer reserve deputy, he has many tasks. He can patrol, work off-road enforcement, go through weapons training and more. He also goes through the same training as regular deputies so he can provide support to them.
“The idea is we can fit in with a regular officer and know everything he’s doing, everything he’s about to do,” said Jerry.
Now that he’s hit this milestone, the question of ‘what’s next’ arises.
“I’m going to stick around as long as I have something and they need me,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.
Jerry said he does hope he and his wife, who is also a volunteer with the department, will be able to travel once it’s safe. That, along with the desire to let younger volunteers step up, will be the biggest motivators in hanging up his badge, but he’s not there quite yet.