SUNRIVER, Ore. -

Sunriver is known as a vacation destination resort, not a place for very much crime. Part of that reason could be thanks to some dedicated citizens.

"I've been doing it since 1998," Doug Seator, a Sunriver citizen patroller, said Monday. "It's just a way of getting involved in the community, and helping the community."

Seator is one of more than 30 members of the Sunriver Citizen Patrol.

"We're the first responders, but we don't get ourselves in harm's way," said Larry Buzan, another member of the citizen force.

Started in 1997 to help with emergency evacuations, the citizen patrol now does much more.

"We'll walk around the house. We're going to visually look at all of the windows to make certain that there's nothing that's broken," said Carolyn Barr, another Sunriver Citizen Patrol member.

By request, citizen patrol checks on homes while owners are out of town.

"We like to do it in pairs so that we can make certain that there's safety involved for us as well," Barr said.

Buzan added, "We don't just drive around and respond when something happens. We're doing proactive involvement by checking windows and doors."

If anything unusual is found, the patrol calls in the police for a formal house check.

On top of house checks, the volunteers help with traffic control during events and emergency evacuations, like the several natural gas leaks Sunriver saw this year.

They also help visitors and give comfort to residents in the community.

Although they volunteer with the police department, they cannot carry a weapon or make traffic stops. But it's their involvement in the community that helps make the resort town a safer place.

"They're my eyes and ears of what's going on in this community," said Sunriver Police Chief Marc Mills. "What the community is concerned about, their likes, their dislikes, especially with the police department."

It's a great asset to police and the community they are a part of.

"I find it very rewarding, and I feel good about it," Buzan said.

Right now, only Sunriver citizens can be a part of citizen patrol, but that may change starting next month.

To be a citizen patrol member, they must go through extensive training that continues throughout their career. For more information on the Sunriver Citizen Patrol or to find out how to get involved you can visit their website at www.sunriversd.org/Police2/CitizenPatrolPage.htm or call Sunriver police at 541-593-1014.