Time is running out to apply to join the Cape Coral Police Department's Volunteer Unit.
The unit is taking applications for its next Volunteer Academy, which takes place Feb. 10-14 at the police department. Volunteers are needed in all divisions - patrol, marine and administrative.
"We're adding to the unit," Lt. Jerry Monroe, a spokesman for the unit and volunteer, said.
He added that upward of 30 positions are being opened up among the divisions.
As of Wednesday, approximately 18 applications had been received.
"We have some openings left, and we're kind of anxious to fill them," he said.
The deadline to submit an application is Dec. 27.
Applications can be picked up at the police department.
According to Monroe, applicants interested in joining the patrol and marine divisions are required to participate in the 40-hour academy; administrative division applicants receive on-the-job training.
All applicants undergo a basic interview with questions about what they did before and why they are interested in volunteering. They will also be fingerprinted and must pass a background check.
"That's necessary because they're in a secure premise," Monroe said.
Applicants must be over 21, a resident of Lee County and possess a valid Florida driver's license.
He noted that no prior law enforcement experience is required.
"Just a willingness and time available," Monroe said.
Volunteers are required to serve a minimum of 16 hours per month.
"Our volunteers, especially on the road and within the marine, they do a lot more," he said.
The police department supplies the Volunteer Unit with uniforms, vehicles and such.
Volunteers with the Administrative Division man the information desks at the police department and City Hall. They also assist with some office and clerical work at the police department.
"They help out in the police lobby, and they help out in City Hall," Monroe said.
The Marine Division patrols the Cape's canals on two, dedicated Volunteer Unit boats.
"They maintain watch over people, their speeds," he said. "Making sure they're not causing damage with their wakes or their boats."
The Patrol Division volunteers patrol the city's streets, assisting with the enforcement of non-moving violations like parking violations and acting as the extra eyes and ears for the police. They also conduct vacation home checks, direct traffic at accidents and work special events, like Red, White and Boom.
"It's not too physically taxing," Monroe said.
Patrol volunteers also deliver paperwork to the court system in the Cape and Fort Myers.
"We're involved with everything, except chasing the bad guys," he said.
The Volunteer Academy will run from about 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. over the five days. Monday through Wednesday will involve classroom work and cover topics such as ordinances and violations.
"They go home with assignments overnight," Monroe said.
Hands-on training is scheduled for Thursday.
"Sworn officers will take the academy cadets out into an intersection," he said, adding that traffic control is a big part of a Patrol Division volunteer's job.
On Friday, a 50-question test is administered that covers everything from the academy.
"We do a complete review of everything we talked about," Monroe said.
A volunteer for about six years, Monroe explained that his experience has been rewarding.
"I'm very pleased that I found it and got involved," he said of the unit.
"It's just a good feeling," Monroe added.
Members of the unit include former CEOs, railroad workers and even retired law enforcement.
"It's a range of people. It's all walk of life," he said.
"There's a lot of friendship in there," Monroe added. "It's like one big family."
For more information, call (239) 242-3346.
The Cape Coral Police Department is at 1100 Cultural Park Blvd.