Belleville police may bolster force with volunteers

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Police officers in Belleville may soon be getting some help answering calls or help keep an eye on parades and festivals in town.

The (Belleville) News-Democrat says Police Chief Bill Clay hopes to revive the city’s auxiliary police officer unit so that those volunteers can assist the paid, full-time officers.

Clay says he has five candidates who are interested in joining the unit. He says he hopes the volunteers — who will carry city-issued firearms — will be on the street by the end of the year and that he hopes the unit will ultimately have 20 members.

The officers who will be paired with sworn officers will be particularly helpful on Friday and Saturday nights when there are typically more calls for service than at other times.