20-year veteran of Odessa Citizens on Patrol program encouraging more volunteers to sign up

20-year veteran of Odessa Citizens on Patrol program encouraging more volunteers to sign up

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - Odessa police have a full staff for the first time in years, that allows them to be more involved with the community.

The first program they're bringing back allows you to get officer training from officers themselves.

The Odessa Police Department (OPD) is a very busy agency, that's why they can use all of the help that they can get.

For the first time in years they're bringing back the Citizen's Police Academy. The academy allows you to get the training of a police officer and serve on the streets as OPD's extra eyes and ears.

"We don't have to go out and look for trouble, trouble will happen right there right in front of you," said Bobby Lea, a member of the Citizens on Patrol Program.

Lea graduated from the Citizens Police Academy in 1996. He's been active with the Citizens on Patrol Program ever since.

"Well, I really like seeing what's going on," said Lea. "I'm a nosy person so it's fun to get out and see what goes on in the town."

When Lea started the program there were about 30 active citizens on patrol, currently there's only 12.

The Citizens Police Academy allows community members to go out on patrol, putting safety first.

The academy starts in March, it's one night a week for 16 weeks.

"We appreciate their help and a lot of times they'll be the first to arrive on the scenes of accidents and lots of other things," said Cpl. Steve LeSueur with OPD. "We really appreciate it and we need more volunteers."

Lea remembers a Saturday during the summer of 1998, he and his wife checked on a vehicle they thought was stalled.

"We arrived and we pulled up in front of it and we could see the man and woman were having an argument," said Lea. "He actually hit her while we were sitting there in front of them. We called it into the police department and if we wouldn't have been there no telling what would have transpired after that."

OPD said programs like these help them make a connection with the community to ease any kind of tension.

The spots are first come, first serve and there are still a few spaces available.

For more information, visit OPD's website.

Copyright 2017 KWES. All rights reserved.