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Volunteers Help Fight Travis County Crime
Volunteers working for the Travis County Sheriff’s Office have worked to lower crime by five percent in some neighborhoods. The group is called Citizens on Patrol Services, or C.O.P.S.
KEYE TV rode along with one duo who found out about the program through an advertisement.
“I hadn’t worked before and I felt incomplete and I wanted to do something. I always loved helping people,” said C.O.P.S. volunteer Margo Ball.
She and Hans Mertens have now been working together for seven years.
“I've seen a lot of accidents, people wanting help or flagging us down asking questions,” said Ball.
As members of the C.O.P.S. team, the duo acts as a deterrent with their assigned vehicle.
“We sit in the school zone. The cars will automatically slow down if they happen to be going too fast,” said Ball.
When we tagged along with the two volunteers we found several garage doors open. “They (burglars) can get into the garage and clean out the whole house in four minutes,” said C.O.P.S. volunteer Hans Mertens.
Although they are non-confrontational, the two can alert people. Otherwise they will just report and film any suspicious activity.
“It gives you a certain amount of satisfaction and you can interact with the neighbors,” said Mertens.
Detective Marc Taub has seen results on leads he has given the program. “Just from my experience in the area I am a detective for I’ve noticed a high amount of burglaries one month. As soon as I activate the volunteers out there I have noticed a significant drop,” Taub said.
The volunteers’ commitment to the community is also saving taxpayer dollars.
“It allows officers to work in other areas and respond to the high call loads,” said Taub.
Right now the C.O.P.S. program has 10 volunteers and is looking for more. The Travis County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) Citizens’ Academy starts February 19, 2013. It is a free 13-week course that meets on Tuesday nights from 6:45 to 10 p.m
Applications can be found at www.tcscaaa.org. The class is open to anyone who is 21 or over and lives or works in Travis County.
For additional qualifiers, questions or to get your application contact Senior Deputy Vincente Galloway at Vincente.email@example.com or call 512-854-4989.
By Christie Post