Call out the militia?
USA Today reports:
"Facing tighter budgets, law enforcement agencies across the country are increasingly turning to civilians to respond to some calls that sworn officers and deputies are usually responsible for.
That means people calling 911 to report a traffic accident, a burglarized home or a stolen car may be greeted by a civilian in a polo shirt instead of a gun-toting officer.
"It hasn't been universally adopted throughout the country. But most areas have at least thought about the alternative and are more open to it now because of the economy," said Richard Brady, president of the Palo Alto, Calif.-based Matrix Consulting Group that has worked with more than 250 law enforcement agencies.
The idea of using civilians, who require less training and are less expensive than sworn officers, to respond to minor police calls has been around since the late 1980s."
Sounds like a plan to me. In my life, I've reported a burglary, an attempted one, and a theft from a car. In all. I had likely fingerprints. In no case were they able to actually send an officer, or to take the prints (even when, in two of the cases, I offered to bring the material to be fingerprinted down to the central police station). I assume it was simple overload: too many thefts and too few folks to investigate them.