Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS), is part of a national initiative managed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police in partnership with and on behalf of the White House Office of the USA Freedom Corp and the Bureau of Justice Assistance. One goal of the VIPS program is to enhance the capacity of local law enforcement by using volunteers.
The Georgetown Police Department implemented a VIPS program in 2005, when it identified a growing need for additional personnel resources to help the department and its officers. Like many other law enforcement agencies, budgets were tight and hiring additional police personnel was not feasible. Today, over 130 volunteers support many community programs, projects, and administrative needs throughout the Department to help free up some of the time officers spend on such tasks. This allows officers to spend more of their time supporting the safety and security of the community.
Volunteers are recruited through many forms of media, but the primary source of VIPS volunteers come from graduates of the Department’s Citizen Police Academy. The academy is held twice annually and all citizens of the community are eligible to apply for attendance.
The Department’s VIPS program is run by Volunteer Program Coordinator, Linda Lipscomb, who is responsible for development of the program’s strategy, maintenance of policies and procedures, recruiting, basic orientation, vetting of all volunteers, ensuring special training is scheduled, collecting and reporting volunteer hours, and general administration of volunteer files. Mrs. Lipscomb acts as Director of Volunteer Services for the Department and manages two administrative assistants who help ensure all elements of the program are administered in a timely and professional manner.
Volunteers assist the Department in various manners – including emergency management assistance, community projects research and development, handling the logistics of Citizen Police Academies, ferrying squad cars to maintenance facilities, patrolling Georgetown parks and trails, assistance at major community and special police events, graffiti removal, answering phones, filing, data entry, clerical duties, and other duties as assigned.
Volunteers are assigned to the following divisions and areas: Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association, Park Rangers, Front Desk Reception, Records Assistants, Fleet Maintenance Service, Victim Services, Animal Services, Community Resource, and General VIPS Administration.
The Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association (CPAAA) is a 501 c 3 non-profit responsible for the coordination and fundraising management of major Department programs such as Blue Santa, Take Me Home, and Silver Shield. In addition, members of the association are often first responders when volunteer jobs are requested inside the Department.
Victim Services volunteers respond to calls from police dispatch to assist on the scene during times of crisis. When officers request assistance with people in need, these volunteers respond whether the incident is of a criminal or non-criminal nature.
Park Rangers conduct routine patrols of the City’s parks and report any violations of law or City Ordinance to the Department, as well as provide assistance as needed to citizens and park-goers.
Animal Services Volunteers assist in a variety of functions including, but not limited to, office duties, shelter cleaning and maintenance assistance and dog-walking.
Front Desk Reception Volunteers assist walk-in customers in various ways, and Records Assistants provide clerical support to the Records Section employees.
Fleet Maintenance volunteers assist patrol officers by ferrying cars to standard maintenance locations and keeping the motor pool in good running condition.
Community Resource volunteers offer administrative and event support assistance to the Community Resource Officer, School Resource Officers, and command staff.
Volunteers report to the commander or supervisor of the unit, section, or division to which they are assigned for the purpose of those tasks being performed. These supervisors report volunteer hours to the VIPS program coordinator.
The VIPS program reports into the Community Resource Division of the Department. Lt. Jim Seals runs the Division along with Sgt. Erik Grasse, Community Resource Officer. Together, they oversee all community programs and help the Citizen Police and Park Ranger volunteers stay busy throughout the year.
In 2012, the volunteers supporting the Georgetown Police Department reported over 25,000 hours of service.
For more information about VIPS, contact the program director, Linda Lipscomb at firstname.lastname@example.org
To fill out a VIPS Application Form, follow this link https://www.formstack.com/forms/?1752765-EdBROGsU9d The form can be completely filled out and submitted on line.