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.
Purpose of the VIPS Program
The VIPS program 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, and may allow officers to focus resources on more urgent law enforcement and community needs. This will free staff's time and 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 need or questions are too trivial, and reluctant to contact the Police Department. They become a powerful and respected voice in our community.
- Strongsville Police Officers benefit from the diversity of working closely with citizens, and will turn to them as a community and 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.
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 Strongsville community. The result is growth in citizen understanding and support of the Strongsville 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 relationship 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.
Applicants must be Strongsville residents and age 18 or over, and must submit to a fingerprint and record check as part of the application process. Applications are available in the lobby of the police station. For more information, contact our VIPS Coordinator, Sgt. Steve Piorkowski at 440-580-5228 (select option 5) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.