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 February 15th, 2007  
St. Lucie County Sheriff's volunteers saved taxpayers half a million dollars in 2006

More than 300 volunteers at the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office performed more than half a million dollars worth of service to the public in 2006, according to Sheriff Mascara.

“We’re grateful that members of the public have generously donated 36,093 hours of their time in 2006 to make St. Lucie County a safer community,” Sheriff Mascara said. “That’s an increase of more than 17 percent over the number of hours donated in 2005.

The federal government estimates the average hourly value of volunteer service to law agencies in Florida at $15.43 (http://www.policevolunteers.org/resources/VIPSvalueVolTime.cfm), which means a savings to St. Lucie County taxpayers in 2006 of $556,914.

The number of Sheriff's Office volunteers in the Citizens on Patrol (“C.O.P.” for short) in 2006 increased by 14 percent, to 312 people who patrol residential neighborhoods, parks and county waters to observe and report crime. Another 40 volunteers in 2006 were assigned to detective offices, courthouses, Sheriff’s substations and the Civilian Parking Enforcement Unit.

C.O.P. members receive special training by the Sheriff’s Crime Prevention Unit before they begin their patrols. In 2006, C.O.P. volunteers patrolled a total of 129,483 miles, Sheriff Mascara said. Park Patrol C.O.P. members drove 24,196 miles, covering beachside accesses, county parks, school parking lots and close patrols for seasonal and vacationing residents.

“Our volunteers are special people,” said Sheriff Mascara. “We appreciate their service.”

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