Guest Speakers: Lieutenant Mercado & Sargent Morris | Corona, CA

Speakers for  Wed. May 1st. were none other than Corona’s finest, Lieutenant Mercado and Sargent Morris from Corona Police Department.  These two gentleman are part of  the department’s  UAS team.  This stands for unmanned aerial systems, also known as drones.  This enhancement for the department started this past Feb. 2019.  Sargent Morris is a drone pilot.   The UAS pilot’s were chosen from patrol and are highly trained in UAS technology.  It requires 56 hours of highly specialized pilot training.  The team is called in to assist with special ops missions, and emergencies.  They also assist in searching for suspects, missing persons and help with the mapping of accident scenes.  Drones are also used in search and rescue missions.  They will be partnering with the Corona Fire Department in the future.  It is more cost effective to use drones rather than a helicopter. The drones use battery packs for fuel.  The length of the battery packs vary, some are 10 min only while others can operate for 38 min.  These packs, while being less expensive than fuel, can add up. The drones can be flown at night, but they require a light kit per FAA rules. They can also be flown in inclement weather.  Drones help in real time intelligence gathering which helps the officers on the ground with their planning.  This was a very exciting talk and the officers brought in a number of different drones that they use in the UAS team.  At the end of the talk Sargent Morris took one of the drones outside and flew it a bit for us and showed us thermal imaging of our little group. Thank you both, this was a very informative talk.  Good to know our CPD is advancing with new and exciting technologies to keep our community safe.

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Guest Speakers: Michele Nissen and Mark Allert | Corona, CA

Former Acting Corona City Manager Michele Nissen and fellow Rotarian Mark Allert were our guest speakers today.  They came to speak about the workshops the city has been conducting with Mayor Jason Scott, councilmembers Yolanda Carillo and Jim Steiner about our city’s homelessness problem.  Mark pointed out that there is a temptation to turn to despair amongst the homeless. We have a team in Corona made up of two police officers and it’s called the HOPE team.  They work 4 days a week for 10 hour shifts.  They interact with our homeless population to try to steer them in the direction they need to go to receive services.  Homelessness is a problem that has been around for centuries.  The city of Corona has contracted out to an outreach service called City Net.  They are a nonprofit and they are getting a count of how many homeless residents live in our city.  A lot of Corona’s homeless population grew up in the city and still have family members that reside here.  About 75% of the homeless in Corona have drug and alcohol addictions.  About 20% have mental illness. There are a lot of organizations in Corona that want to help the homeless, but they lack a coordinated effort.  The homeless need a wraparound type of service.  Thank you Michele and Mark for this very informative talk today. We as Rotarians have a lot of compassion for our fellow man and would love to see this terrible issue resolved.

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Guest Speaker: Bob Huff | Corona, CA

This week’s speaker was Bob Huff a TIP volunteer.  TIP stands for Trauma Intervention Program.  “Citizens Helping Citizens in Crisis” is their motto.  The TIP program is a team of specially trained citizen volunteers who are called to emergency scenes by hospital and public safety personnel to assist family members after a sudden death, victims of crime, witnesses to tragedy, children left alone after the death or injury of a parent, and anyone traumatized by a crisis event.  TIP volunteers work 24/7 365 days a year.  Our local volunteers are requested on site by the Corona Fire Department,  Corona Police Department, or the Corona Regional Medical Center. They come to help fellow citizens in need in the worse situations of their lives.  The volunteer never knows what type of tragedy they will be responding to. Training consists of classroom work and riding along with CPD and CFD.  There are 31 active volunteers in the Corona area.  They have served over a 1,000 residents. Not everyone is able to be a TIP volunteer.  It is difficult not to internalize someone else’s tragedy.  The program is always seeking more capable volunteers.  Our fellow Rotarian, James, talked about how much the TIP volunteers assist the Corona Police Department.  And he recalled how different times were before this program was implemented.  We are all grateful to know that these wonderful volunteers live in our community and are ready to respond if we should ever find ourselves in a time of crisis.

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