MARIETTA, Ga. - The Marietta Police Department has some extra help on the streets. The city's first Public Safety Ambassadors started responding to calls Tuesday.
They don't carry weapons and don't have the power to make arrests, write tickets, or detain people. But they can take reports, handle traffic control, and free up officers to focus on more serious crimes.
"We can take care of some of the things the officers are typically doing and free them up for more important things," said Ambassador Brandon Kendrick.
"We call them a force multiplier, puts more eyes and ears on the street. They're there to have that goodwill, to take the report that needs to be taken but not one that requires criminal charges," said Marietta Police Officer Chuck McPhilamy.
Danny Winegard had to file a report for a stolen tag and was surprised at how quickly an ambassador responded.
"I'm from New Jersey, back home it would have taken a lot longer. They took care of it and now I can go about my day, I didn't have to waste time, they were able to help me out," said Winegard.
Putting the Ambassadors on the street is a lot less expensive than hiring more officers. They're paid $30,000 dollars a year and their training isn't as extensive as that of an officer.
More than 100 people applied for the ambassador program. Eight people have been hired. They range in age from 19 to 64 and have a wide array of experience. Glen Killon is a former firefighter from Connecticut.
"I had a public service career since I was 19 as an EMT, firefighter, I just wanted to stay in public service," said Killon.