You may have seen these officers in their gray uniforms patrolling areas of Wausau this summer. They're the city's community service officers. It works a lot like an internship, while they're out on their beats, they're learning what it takes to be a police officer.
Their job is to make the streets of Wausau a little safer.
This summer, the Wausau Police Department is employing three community service officers. They're just out of the classroom and getting some real-life training on the streets.
They'll be enforcing city ordinance violations, and working with other officers to maintain a safe atmosphere.
"You can't learn everything in a classroom until you're actually out there doing things. You don't know how it's actually going to be, so you get to use what you learn and apply it," says Jennifer Reorowicz, one of the community service officers.
This year, the program expanded from one to three officers, thanks to funding from local businesses and grant money. That extra support will allow the officers to monitor areas of Wausau that need special attention.
"They're invaluable. They're an asset to the police department," says Andy Radies, a crime prevention officer for the Wausau Police Department. "It just gives us more presence in areas that need more attention within the community."
The community service officers will go on to pursue careers in the police field. The hands-on experience they're getting from helping the community feel safer will act as a stepping stone into law enforcement.
"Everything is adding up, just learning more with the other officers in Wausau, and learning from what they do and, kind of, make me into a better officer," says Curt Keene, a community service officer.