City eliminating nearly half of police force trains residents on police work

RAYTOWN, Mo. -- They couldn’t save police officers jobs, but now a group of Raytown residents are trying to save popular police programs from the chopping block.

Raytown Volunteers in Police Service have incorporated so they can start accepting donations.

When the Raytown Board of Aldermen cut $3 million from the police department budget, effectively eliminating 17 police officers from the force, it also cut the funding for volunteer-led programs like the Raytown Citizens Police Academy and Coffee with a Cop.

On Wednesday night, 20 residents were going through training with simulated weapons on various use-of force-scenarios. They included what to do during traffic stops if someone gets out of the car.

“You don’t really appreciate what it’s like for an officer to sit in that car everyday and know at every traffic stop every situation they face there’s potential danger," program participant Curtis Limbach said.

“It feels neat, lIke I’m a little closer to the police officers when I’m doing something like this, getting to know them," James Wilson said.

Citizens don’t get badges or guns, but many will go on to be volunteers with the department, if volunteers can find a way to continue their partnership with Raytown Police.