More and more, volunteers have officers' backs

- The men and women who wear their blue shirt at the Sarasota Police Department wear it proudly. They know each day they volunteer they are helping Sarasota officers.

"It is stressful. If someone else can help out. It's good," said Dorothy Jones.

For 15 years, Dorothy Jones has answered questions, given directions and helped free up officers to do their jobs.

She shudders when she thinks about the lives lost in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

"So much is happening. They are getting killed for no reason. I don't know what people are thinking," she continued.

Others who feel the same way she does are stepping up to help.  Over the last few weeks, the interest in becoming a volunteer ambassador has spiked.

"These people are reaching out to me and saying things along the line of, 'I want to show my support to the police and get involved in the community. I don't know how else I can help. What can I do? Can I volunteer?'" said Michelle Rinaca, the volunteer coordinator.

Rinaca has had more than a dozen new volunteers sign up. Volunteer Zulay Gallagher can understand why.

"I admire anybody who does service because they willingly chose that career realizing they are putting their lives on the line for us," she said.

Her son, Officer Stephen Gallagher Jr., died in a car crash while responding to a call in Washington State.
That happened seven years ago, but she now volunteers in his name.

"You become a family. Once something happens to a police officer, it's your family. I can imagine how they feel," she said.

Gallagher hopes others remember police officers are people too and just like everyone else they need support.

"It is very important to show them our gratitude and that we appreciate what they do and put their lives on the line for us," she added.

Up Next:

Up Next

  • More and more, volunteers have officers' backs
  • Irma victims line up for help in Polk County
  • Killer remains at large in Seminole Heights murders
  • Section of Channelside coming down
  • UF braces for Spencer speaking engagement
  • Officer shares 25-year battle with Crohn's disease
  • Product turns humidity into drinkable water
  • Neighbors puzzled by woman's murder
  • Plane hits two cars in St. Pete crash-landing
  • Lakeland PD officer clipped by truck during traffic stop