F’ville OKs creation of auxiliary police force

It is a good thing for the city and the police department, according to Fayetteville Police Chief Steve Heaton after the Nov. 1 announcement to the Fayetteville City Council that his department will move ahead with forming the Fayetteville Police Auxiliary Force (FAF) made up of graduates from the Citizen Police Academy.

Heaton in an Oct. 19 letter said the rationale behind the idea is to have the new unit established with graduates from the department’s Citizen Police Academy. Those graduates will work on a voluntary basis to assist officers with non-law enforcement tasks, Heaton added. He said the auxiliary will start small with approximately five people and is expected to begin in mid-November.

Police Academy graduates have been asking for years about additional ways they can help, Heaton said. So for those graduates, that time has come.

“These tasks will include providing a presence in the Fayette Pavilion during the holiday season, assisting police personnel with events such as parades and road races and participating in community events. All members of the auxiliary will have to attend training prior to working with the police department. The auxiliary force will be the police department’s eyes and ears and will assist citizens with non-law enforcement issues. Members of the auxiliary force will be in uniform and be assigned a vehicle and a radio,” said Heaton.

Heaton said the assistance provided by the Fayetteville Auxiliary Force will allow officers to focus on law enforcement activities and to address crime-related issues.

The initial cost of a uniform and accessories will be approximately $250, while the cost of converting police cars to FAF vehicles is approximately $2,200. But that cost will be significantly offset by the benefits the city will receive, Heaton maintained.

Volunteer work is worth approximately $20 per hour, Heaton said. Volunteers are expected to be on duty an average of 16 hours per month, said Heaton, adding that three months of volunteering will offset the initial investment.

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