According to the Yakima Herald, the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office Citizens Patrol sees more than 100 volunteers tooling around in surplus police vehicles with yellow light bars and police radios. Working in pairs, with one driver and one observer, the teams cover East Valley, Naches/Gleed, West Valley, Parker Heights, Buena/Zillah and Nile Valley.
While they may look like cops at first glance, the volunteers cannot carry firearms, make arrests or call deputies for backup in potentially dangerous situations. Instead, they flag down patrol members if they spot suspicious activity. The program has proven to be a success thus far, especially in remote areas which are susceptible to break-ins, vandalism and more.
In addition to neighborhood watch duties, the volunteers also help with traffic control for special events and functions.
As the Yakima Herald reports, the sheriff’s office provides the cars, radios and some of the gasoline used in the patrol cars. However, they are looking for more support from local business and community groups to help cover the costs.