Policing can be a stressful and, busy job but, since its launch in 2015 Georgetown's “Citizens on Patrol" unit has been a successful extra set of eyes and ears for the police department.
An eleven-year-old Crown Victoria sits in the Georgetown Police Department parking lot. At first it looks like a normal squad car, but if you take a closer look, it says citizens on patrol.
“There are officers out on the street, we hope we can be some help to without interfering with what they do,” said Randy McDonald, volunteer.
Dennis Barbeau, Randy McDonald, and John McDuffie are three of the 11 volunteers. Each week, volunteers rotate shifts that run typically four hours. Each day before the shift they'll check their Crown Vic.
“We do an overhead check on the headlights, directional, the horn,” said Dennis Barbeau, volunteer.
The team goes out to observe and report. They don't interact with people much, but make calls to the police if they see something suspicious. They also place these radar boxes along roads that may have speeders.
“Rather than send an officer out there to run radar for hours and waste time, we mount the box on the pole it stays about a week,” said McDonald.
The results reveal if an officer should be out there. They also do limo and taxi inspections, while officers handle other cases. These are just some of the things the patrol does.
“Maybe direct traffic, or participate in missing persons [cases].
They make it clear they are not wannabe cops, just Georgetown residents who want to make a difference
“It's anything we can do and stay out of the way that takes a little burden off the officer out on the street,” said McDonald.
They only patrol Georgetown. Members are required to get 6 hours per month. They say they have not encountered a precarious or extremely dangerous situation.