SYKESVILLE -- If it seemed the police force was bigger than usual at Sunday's music festival in Millard Cooper Park, that's because it was.
Sunday's event was the first official activity for Police Chief Wallace Mitchell's volunteer auxiliary police unit, so far composed of eight area men and a chaplain, the Rev. Roland "Bud" Brown of St. Paul's United Methodist Church.
Decked out in blue uniforms and police auxiliary badges, the officers directed traffic and walked the park watching for signs of trouble and maybe a sneaky drinker.
"My people are doing great," said Rick Subrizi, the group's captain. "A couple of people even asked us who we were and what we're doing."
Volunteer police work is not new to Subrizi, who has belonged to the Carroll County fire police and Westminster auxiliary police.
As a young man in the Army, he was a military policeman and presidential honor guard member.
Mitchell and Subrizi recruited the seven-man force and gave members some initial training prior to Sunday. Uniforms and equipment were provided from what the department had on hand or out of the chief's budget.
The volunteers will receive more training as needed in various aspects of police work according to the duties they will be performing.
"We'll be riding with the police on patrols and assisting them, doing community service of all kinds, children's programs, traffic and crowd patrol, and we'll walk patrols in the neighborhoods," Subrizi said.
Some of the auxiliary have experience in similar work, such as Emelino Rico III, a Lexington Market patrol officer, and Donald Storms Sr., an investigator with the state comptroller's fuel tax division.
Others, such as Padraic Lacy of Manchester and John Vogelpohl, a town employee in the parks maintenance department, are waiting for a chance to go into police training.
Still others -- Bob Hartwell, Worley Bowman and Mark Onheiser -- just wanted to get involved in their community and saw an opportunity.
For Mitchell, the auxiliary is a chance to augment his small staff and do some community programs that town budgets don't cover.
"We're trying to get people with different areas of expertise who want to give back to the community," Mitchell said. "We want to get some youth programs going, for instance."
More volunteers are being sought. Auxiliary police must be at least 18, have good driving records, no criminal background and be willing to donate time to the community. Members need not live within the town limits, and women are welcome.
Anyone interested in joining Sykesville's auxiliary police can call Mitchell at 795-0757.