RIALTO (CBSLA.com) — Volunteers in the Rialto Police Department go through rigorous training.
KCAL9’s Adrianna Weingold went along on a ride-along to see just how important the volunteers are to the department.
The program has been vital for decades — the department celebrates its volunteer program’s 30th anniversary Wednesday.
Gary Rico and his partner Rayes Marrero have just started their shift at Rialto PD.
“What I did is I told dispatch that both Ray and I speak Spanish and we will help officers with any translation calls and stuff that they get,” says Rico.
The two are volunteer officers. Anytime a sworn peace officer needs help, the volunteers are on their way to lend a hand.
“The [volunteers] actually do everything from crime scene preservation, traffic accident assistance,” says Noretta Barker, the department’s Public Information Officer.
There are 33 volunteer officers. They train and learn about everything from medical emergencies to traffic collisions.
“We’re going to head down here to one of our trailer parks in the city that has a lot of activity and do what we call an extra patrol,” says Rico.
Some of the volunteers are retired military, or former sworn peace officers, others like Marrero and Rico still hold down full time jobs. Marrero is a handyman and Rico is a supervisor at the US Post Office. Even after the long days they put in, they change uniforms and set out on patrol.
“Our volunteers are the eyes and ears of this department,” says Barker.
Most nights they patrol the streets of Rialto, looking for trouble. They look for drunk drivers, render aid at accident sites, and help with traffic control.
The volunteers don’t carry guns although some carry mace. They rely on good old fashion people skills to keep the peace.
“Helping people really is the main thing,” says Rico, “just helping people and helping my officers take care of the real criminals.”