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Volunteers in Police Service Add Value While Budgets Decrease

NCJ Number
Date Published
52 pages
This document introduces various tools and resources the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) offers to assist in creating a volunteer program or expanding and formalizing an existing volunteer program.
The Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) Program was established in 2002 by IACP in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. More than 2,180 law enforcement agencies across the country are using volunteers. There are more than 244,000 volunteers participating in activities ranging from checking the security of vacationing residents' homes to assisting in solving cold cases. The VIPS Program provides support and resources for agencies interested in developing or enhancing a volunteer program and for citizens who wish to volunteer their time and skills with a community law enforcement agency. The program's ultimate goal is to enhance the capacity of State, local, tribal, and campus law enforcement agencies to utilize volunteers through the provision of no-cost resources and assistance. This publication highlights innovative ways agencies around the country are engaging citizens and increasing their reach in the community. Results show that law enforcement volunteer programs increase agency efficiency in a variety of ways, as evidenced by the agencies profiled in this document. Volunteers can be force multipliers that allow agencies to provide additional services, maintain positive relationships, free up officer time for higher level duties, and maximize impact in the community. Volunteers also provide law enforcement with a direct conduit to the public. While maintaining a volunteer program is not cost-free, the return on investment can be substantial, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of value added to the agency each year. List of resources, additional reading and references

Date Published: January 1, 2011