Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Wed, March 26 2014 at 4:20 PM, Updated: Wed, March 26 2014 at 8:34 PM
Klamath Falls, Ore. -- Some 'volunteer cops' are saving a lot of time and money at the Klamath Falls Police Department.
Bill Lewis is one of five volunteers at the Klamath Falls Police Department...
"Well for one thing, it keeps your mind busy, and keeps you active."
Lieutenant Ryan Brosterhous notes that the 'V.I.P'S', or 'Volunteers In Police Service' program began last fall...
"I think at first, everyone was a little gun shy about recognizing the new program - but our volunteers have been great."
"So I think they have come to know that we are doing a valuable service." Adds volunteer Richard Lemming.
The volunteers do non-emergency duties such as deliveries, getting patrol cars to the shop, vacation house checks, and more...
"Doing the data gathering for some of the projects that they have." Adds volunteer Romie Nichols. "They're varied, and they're interesting."
It's estimated the volunteers have saved the department over ten thousand dollars so far...and freed up a lot of cops for patrol.
And that's important to volunteer Sunny Lemming: "And if we can keep our taxes lower, and keep these services efficient, then I think a lot more people should try to volunteer."
Volunteers have played an active role at the Klamath County Sheriff's Office for years.
Volunteer duties include reserve deputies, search and rescue, and the 'M.V.P.', or 'Mature Volunteer Program'.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.