Hundreds of fleet drivers in Bend, Oregon have been trained as community watch members, according to a report on www.Bend.com/
.For the past year, drivers have been trained as “civilian ground patrols” as part of the RSVP/OnGuard Community Watch Program, a local project of the federally funded, 35-year-old Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). The ground patrol program was created from a federal mandate that RSVP assist in homeland security, according to the report. By the end of this month, more than 800 employees of more than a dozen firms will have undergone training, according to program supervisor Lawrence Blakeslee. The organization will be recruiting more volunteers, and enhancing the training, though the RSVP program recently lost 50 percent of its state funding.Participating companies with small fleets come from an array of industries, including a dairy farm, a broadcasting company, a bank, a Pepsi distributor, two beer and wine wholesalers and the city’s public works office.