Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS)
The Volunteers in Police Service program is an effort developed by the U.S. Department of Justice in partnership with the International Association of Chiefs of Police. This program was created to support President Bush’s USA Freedom Corps initiative and is one of three Citizen Corps programs administered by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The VIPS program is designed to address the increasing demands on state and local law enforcement agencies in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11th. At a time when law enforcement’s limited resources are being stretched even further, some agencies are turning to civilian volunteers to enable police officers to be on the front lines, working to make communities safer. VIPS is a locally driven program that allows community members to offer their time and talents to their local law enforcement agency.
CENTRAL POINT VOLUNTEERS IN POLICE SERVICE
The Central Point Police Department is an organization committed to a partnership with the Central Point community, with an entrusted fundamental duty to represent and defend the deeply held values of our community. The primary motivation of VIPS program is community service, through performance of duty, by way of the public trust granted to the volunteers as members of the police department. The VIPS program is composed of value-oriented citizen volunteers, dedicated to building the partnership between the Central Point community and the Central Point Police Department.
An essential mission of the Central Point Police Department VIPS program is to serve as a volunteer support service to the Central Point Police Department, enhancing the effectiveness of community policing through the provision of administrative, and support services.
THE PURPOSE OF THE VIPS PROGRAM
The Central Point Police Department has addressed two core components, community policing and community partnerships with problem solving, through development of a program of trained citizens actively assisting police officers. Central Point Police Department believes that our model of the VIPS program can be successfully implemented in our community. This is not a sworn reserve officer or auxiliary program. It is a unique partnership with citizens who are willing to volunteer their time in assistance of officers.
There are at least three tangible results that can be expected from the development of our VIPS program.
Citizen volunteers who, after training can relieve officers of routine tasks, both clerical and professional, in addition, allow officers to focus resources on more urgent law enforcement and community needs. This will free staff’s time, increases work productivity and allows them to focus on where their skills can be best utilized.
A stronger bridge of understanding and communication with the community and community leaders. VIPS provide a comfortable, non-threatening, resource to the community, providing direct assistance to citizens who often feel their needs or questions are too trivial, and are reluctant to contact the Police Department. The volunteers become a powerful and respected voice in our community.
Central Point Police officers benefit from the diversity of working closely with citizens, and will turn to them as a community and a personal resource, recognizing that these volunteers are citizens, but respecting the fact that they also understand the stress and difficulties of law enforcement as well.
Volunteers are not new to police work or the criminal justice system. Central Point citizens have a long history of donating time and talent in order to extend the resources or increase the services of Central Point public safety departments. They have served as reserve police officers, community service officers, chaplains and as volunteer fire fighters. Without their help, many valuable tasks would not be accomplished. The Central Point VIPS program was established to more effectively utilize this community support. The program not only ensures volunteers will have the best opportunity to work where they and the department benefit most, but to increase opportunities for citizens to help shape the organizational culture to reflect the community.
Citizens volunteering to work in the department not only benefit department service delivery, they also gain an opportunity to both learn about police functions and contribute part of themselves to the organization which serves the Central Point community. The result is growth in citizen understanding and support of the police department as well as greater understanding and appreciation of citizens by police personnel.
The VIPS program also brings many indirect benefits to the department, both internal and external. The department culture benefits from exposure to the talents and insight of the citizens who volunteer and relationships between the community and department grow. For example:
Volunteers may bring specialized skills, experience, and consulting abilities which would otherwise not be available in the budget.
Working with volunteers provides opportunities for employees to see the community and police work from a non-police, citizen’s perspective.
Volunteers in the workplace provide opportunities for interaction between the public and the private sector and for sharing of experiences.
Volunteers gain understanding and appreciation of police processes and constraints.
If you would like more information regarding the Volunteers In Police Service, please leave a message here.