07/14/10 86 W, 2 I - + 5 - 6 Raleigh Police Department Volunteer Program

Speaking of citizen volunteers, you've probably seen this vehicle about town. Same is operated by the Raleigh Police Department Volunteer Program. The program is operated by the police department in conjunction with the city's community services department. 

As this pamphlet notes, members assist with a range of assignments that may include victim advocacy, translation services, security patrols in parks, telephone crime reporting, data entry, neighborhood watch planning, crime prevention programs, and special event assistance. Learn more about the program.

We as a fire service should learn something from this effort. It is actually already underway in many areas of the nation and state… known as the “Fire Corps.” See this link for information: http://www.firecorps.org/ Qualified volunteer assistance is extremely valuable when managed; and may be considered as one our best community outreach efforts. In my opinion, it extends beyond the CERT teams to a degree as it focuses on assistance directly to the organization. Hats off to RPD! Maybe others should take note(?).
A.C. Rich - 07/15/10 - 12:37

They should spend the money on another R.P.D. officer. There are other ways to get the community envolved then to give them a vehicle with big letters “RPD” on the side with a with a lightbar. Some people may think or act like a RPD officer and it brings liability to the city. In the pamphlet it says the public in this program will be doing security patrols in the park. Again, not a good idea.
C. Smith - 07/15/10 - 14:22

(In my opinion) The vast majority of these programs are supported by grants and the “RPD” vehicle is not the impetus for community involvement… the program is. The COR Community Services Department is also a program partner. Also, simply having someone/something around that says “security” is a strong deterrent to crime, but does not replace the “law enforcement.” Maybe the program (proper) will allow officers and staff to focus on greater organizational needs. Liability is easily addressed with training and release waivers. Don’t forget… our citizens are a very powerful ally and the elected officials are the direct representatives of them. As I alluded to earlier, we should look beyond the traditional service approaches. Programs such as this one may pay relative dividends when funding is requested for operational improvements. I believe it is truly affordable to take some risks to explore new avenues of service. Again, my 2 cents.
A.C. Rich - 07/15/10 - 14:54

“As I alluded to earlier, we should look beyond the traditional service approaches”

Right on, AC. If we don’t, someone who does will come in and replace you/us before we even knew what was happening.
DJ - 07/15/10 - 15:10

The handbook for RPD volunteers is also available on the above site, http://www.raleighnc.gov/portal/server.p..

It notes, in the introduction, this information about finances: “The total cost of the program on a yearly basis is $30,307.00 including vehicle maintenance and the salary of part-time program coordinators which is included in the current budget. The initial value of the program is expected to be $70,236.00 based on the federal value and the accepted value according to the International Association of Chiefs of Police. This value is expected to expand considerably with the addition of future volunteers.”

So they’re basically doubling their money. Sounds like a good investment to me!
Legeros - 07/16/10 - 07:43

Caught this on the city web site, graduation ceremony for the first RPD volunteer academy, http://www.raleighnc.gov/safety/content/..
Legeros - 02/02/11 - 08:07

Key quote: “Since January 1, 2010 RPD volunteers have donated more than 3,400 hours of service to the department. They have worked in the police records section, patrolled neighborhoods and parks in specially marked volunteer vehicles, assisted with documenting and reporting graffiti and abandoned vehicles, patrolled city parks and greenways on bicycles, assisted with events at the new downtown amphitheater, and performed many other assignments.”
Legeros - 02/02/11 - 08:08

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