Published: Sep 03, 2010 9:32 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 03, 2010 6:32 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Fort Myers Police Department welcomes some new officers to the force. The new volunteers in policing program allows people to work alongside fulltime members of the department.

Nearly two dozen volunteers joined the force today.

Officers say the volunteers perform invaluable services and it's important for the department to build ties with the community.

"there's going to be a great exchange of information that will flow back and forth between the volunteers and us and back to the volunteers... to enhance those relationships that we're definitely working hard to see grow."

people in the VIP program with training can be called upon to assist with special events, searches for missing people, victim assistance, and other services.