The Cicero Police Department has been hands-on in community relations for nearly two decades. They were the first in the state to offer the Volunteer in Police Service program. Our Iris St. Meran tells us about the many ways volunteers help serve and protect their community.

CICERO, N.Y. -- They wear a uniform and even go on patrols but they aren't officers. They are Volunteers in Police Service, or VIPS.

"They assist the police department in community events and traffic control; security at community events," said Cicero Police Chief Joseph Snell.

There are 25 VIPS in the Cicero Police Department, the first department in the state to use the program, beginning nearly 20 years ago.

Donald Hazelmyer is the chief of VIPS and has been a volunteer for seven years.

"What makes this rewarding for me? You know, there's that day when you really help somebody, be it at a traffic accident; be it somebody that's hurt," said Hazelmyer.

Volunteers in Police Service play a major role in community relations. They go out on patrols and do residence checks. The one thing they cannot do is respond to crimes in progress.

"Their job is really to wait until a supervisor can tell them what they need to do,” Snell said, “They may need to stand guard a crime scene."

Their efforts became a little easier. They received a new community policing vehicle. It was made possible through a number of donations including from Driver's Village, which presented them the keys on Tuesday.

To join Volunteers in Police Service, you must be at least 25-years-old and a Cicero resident, or live within the North Syracuse School District. For more information, can you visit their Facebook page.