Advancing National Service

Some Local Police Departments Are Understaffed. These Volunteers Are Helping Fill the Ranks

April 2, 2019
by &
Menu
Some Local Police Departments Are Understaffed. These Volunteers Are Helping Fill the Ranks
Joshua O'Connor
The 2019 federal budget will cut recruitment funding for local police officers in half. In cities like Denver and Houston, Volunteers in Public Service, or VIPS, are assisting local police officers with everything from gathering data to staffing kiosks.

Funded in part by the U.S. Department of Justice, VIPS pairs interested applicants with their local police stations, who “hire” them for help on evenings and weekends. Tasks can vary, but volunteers often assist officers with tasks like gathering data and vacation-home monitoring, as well as with staffing desks and kiosks.

Glenn Lasater, 71, volunteers twice a week with the Traffic Investigations Unit of the Denver Police Department. “I provide direct support to the detectives in handling their cases,” Lasater says. “I handle calls, and go out on accident scenes, and that takes that off the back of the detectives.”

Support from people like Lasater can be critical in cities and towns that desperately need it: According to the National Police Support Fund, some local police departments nationwide are losing funding, meaning that support from volunteers may ultimately prove mission critical.

To learn more about Lasater and VIPS, watch the video above.

More: One on One With the Police

Comments