TroyAugust 22, 2012
Citizens on Patrol volunteers helped in search for missing cyclist
By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer
In an effort to put as many boots on the ground as humanly possible, volunteers with Troy Citizens on Patrol stepped in to help search a rural area miles away to recover the body of a missing cyclist feared dead earlier this month.
The body of Patrick Mikes Sr. was positively identified by the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office Aug. 13 after an exhaustive search of a 25-square-mile area in Montrose Township. Joining in the effort were nine members of Troy Citizens on Patrol.
Police discovered Mikes’ body in a cornfield in the township — Patrick Mikes Jr. had been charged with open murder before his father’s body was found.
“This is a tragic event,” Troy Police Chief Gary Mayer said. “My heart goes out to the family.”
Mayer explained that the search teams consisted of more than a dozen groups, most including police K-9 units or police officers.
“It went very well,” Mayer said. He said the Suburban Collection provided lunch to about 60 of those who took part in the 13-hour search Aug. 9.
Citizens on Patrol began last summer, when the Troy police grappled with budget cuts and downsizing, as a way to reach out to the community, Mayer said. About 20 members of Citizens on Patrol have completed the Troy Citizens Police Academy and background checks. They patrol neighborhoods and parks on their own time with their own vehicles. The volunteers do not carry weapons or directly apprehend suspects. They keep detailed notes and file reports with police on anything fishy they see, hear or smell on city streets, parks or school grounds.
Mayer described the group as easy to deal with, exuberant and motivated.
John Avery, who volunteers with Citizens on Patrol, helped with the Aug. 9 search. He reported to Troy Police Headquarters at about 7 a.m. that day for a short briefing, then rode to Montrose Township in a police van with eight other Citizens on Patrol volunteers.
Avery said the mood among the volunteers was apprehensive, but everyone hoped to bring the search to a quick conclusion.
“They told us what to look for — any area that looked like it my have been disturbed,” Avery said. “It was very professionally done. The 10 hours went by very quickly,” he said of the search. “It’s probably a first for most of us.”
The volunteers ended their part of the search Aug. 9 at about 4 p.m. Police remained on the scene until about 7:30 p.m., and the body was found the next morning about 30 feet from where search efforts had ended the day before.
“This is not something you’d want to come along, but we were happy to help,” Avery said.
Avery patrols various streets of Troy for about 12 hours each month.
“I had a personal interest in helping out,” Avery said of his decision to join Citizens on Patrol. Avery, a retired design engineer from General Motors, said his brother and father served as police officers, his brother with the Troy Police Department.
“There’s definitely a lot of enthusiasm for the group,” Avery said.
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