Malibu civilian volunteers can now issue parking tickets as they patrol the city looking for questionable behavior, so police can focus their efforts on more serious crimes.
Civilians from the organization Volunteers on Patrol — the result of a 2010 collaboration between the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the city of Malibu — were granted the new power to give tickets to their peers on Saturday, as part of a push to better aid the city’s law enforcement officers, according to Fox News.
“Their main purpose is to be patrolling and looking for suspicious activity,” said Shawn Brownell, deputy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “It’s sort of a modified neighborhood watch, looking for potholes and such. But the primary function is to basically assist local law enforcement officials and just be an extra set of eyes and ears on the street for us.”
The program comes just after the city has upped its parking regulations and could save Malibu roughly $50,000.
The 10 participants in the Volunteers on Patrol program dedicate a minimum of 16 hours per month to patrolling the city. Volunteers are both young adults and senior citizens, according to Southern California Public Radio.
“The majority of my volunteers are retired individuals, but we do have some people who are working and volunteering on their own time,” Brownell said.
Volunteers wear uniforms — white shirts, navy blue pants and shoulder patches — and drive white cars with emblems of the sheriff’s department and Malibu to distinguish them from other citizens.
Volunteers on Patrol are also unarmed, unable to make arrests and taught to not engage in violence.
“We definitely stress no violence with these volunteers,” Brownell said. “They follow the letter of the law and if they’re confronted by someone or someone gets in their face, they’re told not to be overzealous. They’re not armed, so they have no way to defend themselves. These are just everyday people out there.”