With the economy in a slump, cheap help has never been more valuable.
For the Hall County Sheriff's Office, that means using a volunteer reserve unit for special events, emergencies and even routine patrol, said Capt. Harry Chapman, commander of the unit.
The unit, started in 2001, is made up of 29 former sheriff's office law enforcement officers.
"As economic times have gotten tough, we've called on them to help us," said Col. Jeff Strickland, citing $4,000 saved in just a few months. "We're very proud of them and thankful to have them."
Chapman said the unit is able to assist in every department. Most have other full-time jobs but volunteer four to 20 hours a month.
They often help with missing person searches, event security and fill almost all traffic control positions.
According to Strickland, this has allowed the sheriff's office to keep paid officers on the streets, cutting down on overtime costs.
On Lake Lanier, the unit has responsibility for patrolling the lake during summer months, typically riding personal watercraft.
"It keeps the sheriff's office from having to create another unit and putting personnel on the water," Chapman said.