Suburban police departments around the country are seeing an uptick in the use of volunteers doing day-to-day tasks.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports these volunteers on the beat allow sworn officers to go after the really bad guys.
"Reserves are driving prisoners to jail, patrolling streets and parks on busy weekend nights, answering animal and nuisance calls, and waiting at accident sites for tow trucks -- all with an eye to freeing sworn officers for more serious matters," the newspaper reports. "Increasingly, departments have volunteer emergency response teams to assist in case of a natural disaster or building collapse."
We have a place at the beach where we have one of these programs with volunteers. They don't carry guns, they don't have arrest powers. They're just extra eyes and ears out there, like a force multiplier.
Some police unions are opposed to these volunteers. They think they could cost jobs. But that's not what they're about; they're about enhanced community safety. And to keep sworn officers doing things to reduce the chance that any of us would be visited by violent crime.
So if it appeals to you, consider getting involved. Wyatt Earp it definitely ain't! It's just a chance to help your community be a safer, nicer place to live.