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The Riverton Police Department hires their first community service officer to help with call volume

A man in a blue shirt and vest with the words "Community Service Officer" stands with his right arm raised, taking an oath. A crowd of people looks on.
City of Riverton
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Riverton Mayor Tim Hancock Jeff Manning administers the oath of office for new community service officer Jeff Manning alongside Police Chief Eric Hurtado.

Last summer, Riverton Police Chief Eric Hurtado proposed adding community service officers (CSOs) to the department to help with a high volume of calls and understaffing issues. CSOs don’t make arrests or carry a gun, but they can help with low-risk incidents like parking tickets or minor car accidents. Ideally, that frees up other officers to respond to more serious crimes.

The police chief’s proposal turned into a reality at a City Council meeting in Riverton last week. On a Tuesday night at City Hall, Navy veteran Jeff Manning was sworn-in as the city’s first CSO by Mayor Tim Hancock.

“Welcome aboard, Jeff. Certainly appreciate you being willing to serve and look forward to it,” said Hancock. “I’ve lived in a couple of communities that have had (CSOs), they definitely kind of help fill a gap and a need for the community.”

Manning moved to Riverton from the Pacific Northwest about a year and a half ago and had spent the majority of his career working for tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft. At the meeting, Hurtado said Manning’s new role will be a real help for the department.

“A position for committee service officer is important and our goal is to help alleviate some of the call volume that some of our sworn officers do. It’s a support role, a non-sworn role,” he said.

Last September, the Riverton Police Department received a nearly $300,000 federal grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance to help get the program running and hire two people for the new role. The City of Riverton is still accepting applicants for the second position.

Riverton joins towns like Cheyenne, Rock Springs, Jackson, Laramie and Evansville, which all have some version of a CSO program.

Hannah Habermann is the rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has a degree in Environmental Studies and Non-Fiction Writing from Middlebury College and was the co-creator of the podcast Yonder Lies: Unpacking the Myths of Jackson Hole. Hannah also received the Pattie Layser Greater Yellowstone Creative Writing & Journalism Fellowship from the Wyoming Arts Council in 2021 and has taught backpacking and climbing courses throughout the West.

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