Published: Jan 08, 2011 12:07 AM EST
Updated: Jan 07, 2011 9:08 PM EST

CAPE CORAL, Fla -  With budget cutbacks, cities have been forced to be creative to maintain services and save money at the same time.

In Cape Coral, the police department is using a powerful weapon: volunteers.

Roy Sortino has been a volunteer with Cape PD for the past eleven years.

"I was very interested in helping the community," he said.

Roy and the other 100 plus volunteers are fast becoming the Cape Coral Police Department's right hand men and woman.

They have saved the department hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past few years.

"I am an arm of the police department. Me being there frees them up to do their job a lot easier," Sortino said about his role as a volunteer.

In recent years, Cape PD has tightened their budget and reduced staff.

Using volunteers has helped them make-up the manpower and save money without reducing services.

"We're able to augment our resources that would we not be able to afford," said Captain Mike Torregrossa.

Volunteers within the department has increased 20% in the past year.

Right now there's 115 volunteers on staff with more on the way.

"We have so many people that are really seeking, that say I want to be useful,"how can I help you?"," Torregrossa said.

Jobs of volunteers range from answering non-emergency phone calls, helping people who come to the department, patrolling parking lots, waterways, and keeping track of equipment.

By doing these jobs volunteers are freeing up police officers.

"That 115 personnel probably gives us 4-10 officers per day we don't have to designate to a specific task," Capt. Torregrossa told WINK News.

He adds without the volunteers, the department would be spread thin.

"We would be at a point where we would be just above giving a minimum amount of services,"

No matter what job they are doing, their services are invaluable.

"You can't put a price tag on it," Torregrossa said.

Volunteers can't make arrests or give citations.

To be a volunteer you do have to take a class.

For more information on the Volunteer Unit, contact Joe Hartley at jhartley@capecoral.net