Volunteers save Kennewick police money

Volunteers save Kennewick police money
KENNEWICK, Wash. -- We're always tracking the way cities are spending your money. Including the way they're saving your money as well.

A volunteer program is credited with saving thousands of man hours.

John Murphy may have retired in '98 -- but he didn't stop working.

He found his second calling as one of the C.H.I.P.S. in Kennewick. It stands for Citizens Helping in Police Services.

"I retired from work and decided it would be nice to do something," he says.

John isn't making DUI arrests or busting gangs, but his role is just as critical.

He says, "If I do some secretarial or some administrative things, they don't have to use their time."

Not using their time on paperwork allows officers to work the beat and keep crime rates down.

Just this week, KEPR reported Kennewick has seen its lowest overall crime rate in a decade.

Police know how the C.H.I.P.S. volunteers are key to this success.

Sgt. Weber of the Kennewick Police Department heads up the program.

"We have volunteers that do the mail run, some volunteers look for handicap parking violation, crime prevention, some work in the evenings and help restock patrol supplies in the squad car," he says.

On top of the countless other jobs that the volunteers do, they also help the police department set up radar speed detectors. A job that seems mundane, but actually saves the department tons of time and resources.

Volunteers put in just under 9 thousand man hours last year alone.
That's equivalent to two and a half times the salary of a full time employee -- Two plus people that aren't eating up your tax dollars -- thanks to the services of John.

We asked John what the most rewarding part of his job is. He says, "Taking the work off of someone. It's pleasant to do something and have it help."

The C.H.I.P.S. program runs on about 3 thousand dollars a year, far less than an officer's or administrator's salary.

If you would like to help out, contact the Kennewick Police Department.