Sheriff’s Posse of El Dorado County Supporting Local Officers in Need
Karen Wilson, Stew Wilson, Hal Barker, Sheriff John D’Agostini, Ray Ricciardi and Julie Ricciardi – photo by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group
After a fulfilling 50-year career as a policeman, he decided he still had more to give.
“I was a county sheriff and looked around to see what kind of coverage there would be for my deputies, particularly their families, if any of them were killed in the line of duty. It became fairly clear to me that there was no specific way we could cover expenses for a family who’d lost a deputy with county funds, and there’s a long period of time before benefits kick in. In the meantime, bills go on, diapers and groceries have to be purchased, and the rent has to be paid; so I decided to develop an organization that would have enough money to assist a family in the unlikely event of that kind of tragedy,” he says.
Thus, the Sheriff’s Posse of El Dorado County was born in 2000, after a friend supported his endeavor to seek out people who would be willing to join the organization for a fee of $600, and yearly dues thereafter of $100, that would support the family of a fallen deputy in the line of duty.
“I sold those memberships myself when I told each of them, ‘look, this is a support organization and in the event of tragedy we’re going to do this, and I’d like you to be part of that.’ Within a month or so, I had 100 members. It’s not a hard sell!” he states.
As of 2013, the Posse has joined forces with the California Peace Officers’ Memorial and shares the responsibility of helping a California deputy’s family in times of tragedy, with a check for $7,500.
Fortunately, no fatal incident has occurred since 2000, but the Posse has helped in other ways. One winter, an officer was en route to a Christmas event with his family when they were met with a horrific traffic accident. Luckily their lives were spared, but it looked like their Christmas might be ruined. That’s when Barker asked the Posse if they could, in any way, salvage what was left of the family’s Christmas.
The group’s board of directors decided to chip in and gift the family presents—ultimately bringing a little cheer to their lives that year. “The other board members’ intentions are much like mine: to be there in case they’re needed in times of tragedy,” Barker asserts.
As for newer ventures, the Sheriff’s Posse has decided to offer sponsorships for children of law enforcement officers of El Dorado County, with money collected from a ticketed summer barbecue event that is open to the public. They also hold an annual picnic for sheriff’s office members and their families. There are currently around 130 members in the Posse and anyone else is welcome to join (for a fee of $500)—as long as they’re committed to the cause.
For more information, visit edcsp.org.