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Hazelwood Volunteers in Police Search for New VIPS at Hazelwood Harvestfest

The unit, which through volunteering saved the Hazelwood Police Department $264,000 in 2010, looked for local recruits at Hazelwood Harvestfest.

You see them and you may think they are just staffers of the , but the is a distinct group of individuals who volunteer their time in order to make a difference in the community.

They are everywhere in Hazelwood—, working Hazelwood Police Department events such as the and you might just see a VIP taking a squad car to get an oil change.

On Saturday, the group was present at spreading the word and looking for new VIPS. Volunteers Denise Wolk and Jeanne Bethel not only manned the booth but helped with the event, as well.

"We are always looking for volunteers," Wolk said. "They can be men or women over 18—anyone that's an adult and has time to devote to the police department."

Wolk said the volunteers help the police with Hazelwood events, as well as office work, among other things.

"When the police department hands out the Halloween bags, we go and help stuff bags," she said. "Depending on what your training is and what you like to do, we will find something.

"It's suited to what you like to do."

Bethel said she does office work, but has also worked in the courts, along with D.A.R.E. graduations.

"I love it," she said. "I have also worked Halloween events—anything for the kids."

Wolk added that the volunteers sometimes drive police cars around when they need oil changes or maintenance.

"If we can do it, that means a police officer doesn't have to," she said.

The unit was recently acknowledged at a $264,166.50. That amount represents 8,521.5 volunteer hours of service.

"They are truly the backbone of this community," Hazelwood Mayor Matthew Robinson said at that meeting. "There's a lot of events that go on in the community that I don't know how we would do them without them."

Additional jobs the VIPS perform include filing in the city's records room, shredding documents and checking on prisoners in the city jail area.

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