Cape Police Volunteer Unit applications still being taken
There are only a few openings left to join the Cape Coral Police Department’s Volunteer Unit.
Last month, the unit began accepting applications for its next academy class, scheduled for Feb. 8-12 starting at 8 a.m. Volunteers for the patrol division are needed; the deadline to apply is Wednesday.
As of Tuesday, about a dozen applications had been received.
“I was hoping to get about 20 applicants,” Capt. Terry Nicodemus, with the Volunteer Unit, said.
Applicants must be over 21, a Lee County resident and have a valid Florida driver’s license.
No prior background in law enforcement is required.
“We will take everybody, who qualifies, into the class,” he said.
Currently, there are 186 members in the unit.
“The chief wanted to get to 200 volunteers,” Nicodemus said.
Those interested in applying can pick up an application at the Cape Coral Police Department. Applicants are called in for a face-to-face interview, background check and fingerprinting.
“At the interview, I’ll explain everything that’s expected of them,” he said.
Nicodemus noted that the unit plays a vital role for the CCPD.
“This is a commitment,” he said. “We spend some money getting our volunteers uniforms and cars.”
Applicants accepted into the academy will be notified by mail by the end of January.
“The first three days is classroom work,” Nicodemus said.
On Thursday, the trainees will go to an intersection and learn how to direct traffic, where to place the emergency cones and such. They will also train by working through staged scenarios, like a crash.
“On Friday, we have a test,” he said.
Following their completion of the academy, the new volunteers will be assigned a trainer.
“They’ll go out on patrol with one of our qualified volunteers,” Nicodemus said.
“At first, they’ll ride along and see how we do it,” he added.
There is a probationary period of 96 hours.
Volunteers are required to work at least 16 hours per month – one four-hour shift per week.
“Most people work more than that,” Nicodemus said.
The majority of the members are retirees. For Nicodemus, he was bored and looking for something to volunteer for that would be good for the community when he learned about the Volunteer Unit.
“I had no idea what I was getting into,” the former electrician said.
First assigned to the patrol division, Nicodemus loved working with the public.
“And I enjoy the camaraderie of it,” he said. “Getting along with the other volunteers.”
The patrol division assists with the enforcement of non-moving violations, such as handicap parking, parking in a fire lane, median parking, parking on a sidewalk and parking in front of a fire hydrant.
They conduct vacation house checks, direct traffic at accidents and make deliveries to the court system in Cape Coral and Fort Myers. They also work special events, like Red, White and Boom and more.
For more information on the Volunteer Unit or applying, call (239) 242-3346.
The Cape Coral Police Department is at 1100 Cultural Park Blvd.