Published: Feb 19, 2014 5:46 PM EST
Updated: Feb 19, 2014 6:21 PM EST

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Thousands of hours of work for free. Wednesday, the Cape Coral Police Department recognized its volunteers for their service and dedication. 

WINK News found out, the volunteers don't just donate hours, they save the department, and Cape Coral taxpayers some big bucks. 

Terry Niodemous is among the dozens of volunteers at the Cape Coral Yacht Club Ballroom. He's risen through the ranks to become their captain, after starting his "volunteer job" more than a decade ago. "It's helping the city, and it's a good cause, keeps me off the streets," he laughed.

The department's volunteers patrol the waterways, to the roadways. They perform administrative work, and tell you where to go at city hall, like former flight attendant Linda Cole. 

"I get to give back to the city. We love Cape Coral. We moved from Atlanta, two years ago," Cole said.      

This past year, volunteers like Nicodemus and Cole worked more than 46,000 hours for the city at no charge. Something in which Chief of Police Bart Connelly places a lot of value. 

"If we were to take that amount, and equate that to the job description of a paid employee, that would be services worth $760,000 to the taxpayers of the city of Cape Coral," said Chief Connelly. 

Currently the department has almost 180 volunteers, the most its ever had in its entire history. For these men and women, it's a chance to give back, and for a day, be recognized. 

"Just paying back for all the good things that have been involved in my life," said Joe Cobb, who was named "Volunteer of the Year." 

The number of police department volunteers fluctuates with the seasons.
You have to take a special class, before becoming a volunteer, and department is always looking for more people who'd like to participate in the program.

If you are interested, contact the Cape Coral Police Volunteer Unit at (239) 242-3302.