Polk County considers Volunteers In Police Service program

Published 2:37 pm Friday, August 21, 2009

Volunteers could serve as additional eyes to ensure courtroom security, handle secretarial duties and civil papers, help at events, handle traffic control and present children&squo;s programs and demonstrations, among other tasks.

Commissioners directed county manager Ryan Whitson to research extra insurance requirements and said they will decide later whether or not to implement the program.

Hill said using volunteers is simply having extra eyes in the county. He mentioned the increase in crime recently and the success nearby Henderson County has had with the program.

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Hill also mentioned the many retired law enforcement officers here, including retired state and federal agents who are interested in helping the sheriff&squo;s office without getting back into the career totally.

Hill said he and Tryon Police Chief Jeff Arrowood have also been talking about implementing an Explorer&squo;s program in the county, which is a program to get students involved early in law enforcement.

VIPS began in 2002 in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001. Then President George W. Bush created USA Freedom Corps (USAFC) to build on the service and sacrifice following Sept. 11, and VIPS is one of five Citizen Corps partner programs.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) manages and implements the VIPS Program in partnership with, and on behalf of, the White House Office of the USA Freedom Corps and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

There are more than 222,000 VIPS volunteers in the U.S.