Wakulla County now has six extra law enforcement officials in the area. They're known as Public Service Officers or PSO's who volunteer their time to help patrol their streets.
We rode along with Officer Raymond Hubbird Tuesday to get an inside look. The PSO's are like a sheriff deputy's except they don't carry a weapon and have no arrest powers.
Hubbird says, "We feel like we're giving something back that they wouldn't be able to afford otherwise. It's more patrols and more cars on the roads."
He goes on to say, "We assist the deputies with traffic stops, automobile accidents, or whatever comes along."
Before each of them them hit the streets, they went through 200 hours of classroom and field training.
Officer Hubbard says he works as a PSO about 40 hours -that's about $3,000 the sheriff office is saving per week that they'd have to pay for a sheriff deputy.
Wakulla County Sheriff David Harvey says the PSO's are needed in the county because they're short-staffed and can't afford to hire more deputies. He says these volunteer PSO's help save taxpayers about $90,000 a year.
"We feel that this is going to be an answer to a problem in a good way that will help the taxpayers" says Harvey.
Local resident Roger Horton says, "We need all the help we can get and to keep the taxes down in this economy. It's a smart thing to do."
Wakulla County is the only county in the big bend area with PSO's. There will be an orientation meeting this Thursday at 2pm at the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office to initiate and recruit more PSO's.
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