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'We're Not Police Officers, We're Just Here To Help': Police Volunteer Program Returns To Conejo Valley

Police volunteers
KCLU News
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Police volunteers David Palmer and Mike Green are back on patrol in Thousand Oaks.

Volunteers in Thousand Oaks are back on patrol after a break because of the pandemic.

A parking ticket is being issued in Thousand Oaks, to a vehicle blocking a disabled parking bay.

It’s one of the tasks performed by a team of police volunteers in Thousand Oaks who are on patrol in the city.

Police volunteer David Palmer says that by undertaking routine police functions like this, volunteers like him allow deputies to concentrate more on the duties that only sworn personnel can perform.

"We handle calls that are low risk, where something may have been stolen, for example, but there's no suspect information," explains Palmer. "We can take those types of calls and leave the deputies available to take the more high level serious types of calls."

Palmer is one of around 50 volunteers in Thousand Oaks, who are returning to their roles after a break during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mike Green has been a volunteer since 2013, and he says it’s a way to give back to the community after retiring from a career in sales incentives.

He says it's quite different to his previous career and that's typical of the volunteers in the program.

"I'd say no one in this program is an ex-police officer. We are mostly business people, executives, who just had time on our hands and wanted to do something," says Green.

"We're not police officers, we are here to help," agrees Palmer.

The police department is looking to recruit additional volunteers, who can pass a background check and can give at least 20 hours per month of their time.

And the volunteers – known as VIPs – Volunteers In Policing – are given training which involves going to the "citizens academy," a weekly program, attending once a week.

"It takes generally three to six months to complete the training," says Palmer.

You can apply for the program by calling 805-371-8398 and 805-765-7008.