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San Diego is safer thanks to 75,000 hours of police department volunteer time

San Diego Police Department honored 275 volunteers at luncheon.

SAN DIEGO — You don't become America's Finest City without a lot of help. In this Zevely Zone, I played Master of Ceremonies at the San Diego Police Department's Volunteer Appreciation Day

"We are humbled by your efforts, the amount you put in day in and day out," said Captain Manny Del Toro. He commended the selflessness and sacrifice of the department's 275 volunteers. "The way I look at the volunteers, I see them as having an extra squad. They are partners is what they are," said Captain Del Toro.

Once a year, San Diego police thank the special men and women with a nice meal and handshake from the chief.  

Credit: San Diego Police Department Volunteers

"I couldn't be more proud of this group," said Chief David Nisleit. "From patrol to the crime lab to crisis intervention, child abuse, criminal intelligence, you name it, especially right now, they are invaluable to us."

Credit: San Diego Police Department Volunteers

When volunteers free up precious time for officers to fight crime, San Diego is a safer city. Last year, the volunteers put in more than 75,000 hours. The department has 6 volunteer programs.

Cadets, CRISIS Interventionists, Reserve Officers, RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol), and VIP (Volunteers in Policing). In CRISIS Intervention, volunteers often offer a shoulder for families to cry on. "People need us, said volunteer Jo Jo Talcott. "To be able to help people you know, on what are often the worst day of their life, I feel like I make a difference in their life," said volunteer Bob Chambers.  

Credit: San Diego Police Department Volunteers

Volunteers also check in on YANA seniors, as a part of their 'You Are Not Alone' program. "You go in and talk to them and basically make them feel good about themselves. We do a lot of vacation house checks and make sure nothing gets stolen while they are on vacation," said volunteer Captain Bob Walder.  

Credit: San Diego Police Department Volunteers

From reserve officers to the senior patrol, extra eyes and caring hearts make a difference. "It's just something that you need to do. Once you have stopped working and you are retired you need to keep busy and volunteering is a great way to do it," said volunteer Carole Ericson.

Credit: San Diego Police Department Volunteers

"I don't get paid. All volunteer, about 700 hours so far in a year. It feels good to give back," said volunteer Chris Higginbottom. "I would say it is the most rewarding thing I've done in my whole life," said volunteer Bob Chambers. "Makes me feel like I am giving back to my community who has given me so much," said volunteer Laurie Dunkerton.

Captain Del Toro added, "Ultimately what they do for us is they improve the quality of service that we are able to deliver as a police department to the citizens of San Diego."

The San Diego Police Department is in need of more volunteers. For more information click here.

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