NOW volunteers plan ‘saturation’ patrol

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Vancouver’s volunteer eyes and ears, 140 of them perhaps, will be on patrol Saturday in observance of National Make a Difference Day.

Thirty-five trained members of Neighbors On Watch will work in pairs, some using their own cars and others using the Vancouver Police Department’s two vehicles with cameras and electronic equipment that can recognize license plates of stolen cars, according to a police bulletin. Meanwhile, other NOW members will document what happens and call 911 if necessary.

“These incredible volunteers are donating part of their weekend to keep things safer for everyone who lives, works in or visits our city,” Kelly Cheney, the department’s volunteer coordinator, said in a bulletin.

Police Chief Cliff Cook brought the program here in 2008. Members are meant to be highly visible, wearing fluorescent yellow vests, maroon T-shirts and tan caps; round magnetic NOW signs adorn their car doors.

Police think that might discourage car prowlers. But they also are trained not to confront anyone, just watch, document and report.

For more information, call Cheney at 360-487-7467. Or visit http://www.vanpolice.org.