Local News

Volunteer Cops Make Rounds In Durham

Posted October 1, 2003

— Durham has some new cops on the street, but they are not sworn officers. They are volunteer members of the Citizens Observer Patrol (COP) for short.

In her new role as a COP member, Durham resident Whitnee Steele volunteers her time checking on the elderly and making sure homes, businesses and vehicles are not targets for criminals.

"I feel that you need to take an active approach if you see something that needs help," she said.

Durham police needed help. Now, they have it in 23 volunteers who became COPS after passing background checks and getting trained on what entices criminals.

"It becomes another set of eyes and ears that can help us in showing visibility in neighborhoods," said Master Officer Eric Hester.

After just two days, it has already made a difference to Helen Kenion.

"I think it's a great thing that Durham is doing, especially for the seniors and disabled," she said.

Right now, COP is a pilot program in District Two. It might be expanded in January. Durham did not budget for the program so they are using an old patrol car that was headed to auction and old uniforms from the former parking enforcement division.


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