If you’ve ever wanted to help fight crime in the Temple Terrace community without taking on many of the dangers that police officers face, now is your chance.
The is launching a Citizen Volunteer Patrol Program, which puts area residents on the streets of Temple Terrace, patrolling neighborhoods and helping officers with public safety.
“They’re just additional eyes and ears—crime prevention on wheels,” Police Chief Kenneth Albano explained to the City Council at its Tuesday evening meeting.
Twelve volunteers will be chosen. They’ll go through 40 hours of training and be required to commit to volunteering 14 hours per month. Responsibilities include:
- Patrolling neighborhoods and commercial areas
- Assisting officers with public safety and traffic control
- Supplementing crime awareness activities
- Responding to non-emergency calls
- Providing basic first aid
- Reporting suspicious activities
The city has refurbished two police vehicles that volunteers will use. The cars have amber lights instead of red and blue, and amber stickers on the doors that identify them as Citizen Patrol vehicles. Volunteers will never work alone, Albano explained; they will always be paired up.
Volunteer uniforms will be distinguishable from police uniforms. Volunteers will wear khaki shirts, blue pants and khaki hats.
According to Albano, the Citizen Volunteer Patrol Program creates a greater crime prevention presence.
“A greater presence equates to fewer opportunities for criminal activity,” he said. “Also, when volunteers can respond to lower priority calls, it allows more time for our officers to respond to high-priority enforcement issues and investigation-related calls.”
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has a similar program, and Albano told the council that it reported no serious injuries to its volunteers.
The start-up costs for the program, including vehicles, equipment, uniforms and training, will be covered by forfeiture funds, which is money recovered from illegal drug sales. Operational costs will be minimal, Albano said.
The police department is recruiting applicants now. To qualify, you must be at least 19 years old, an area resident, possess a valid Florida driver’s license, pass a criminal background check, and meet other restrictions and requirements.
To apply or obtain further information, call Officer Karen Walter at 813-506-6500 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.