In his 2002 State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush announced the creation of the USA Freedom Corps, an effort to foster a culture of service, citizenship, and responsibility, building on the generous spirit of the American people. He called on all Americans to serve a cause greater than themselves. The Citizen Corps programs are part of the USA Freedom Corps initiative and share the common goal of helping communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to crime, natural disasters, and other emergencies. Citizen Corps was created to help coordinate volunteer activities to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to any emergency situation.
One of the Citizen Corps partner programs is the Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) Program. The program's goal is to enhance the capacity of state and local law enforcement to utilize volunteers.
The VIPS program provides volunteer support staff to aid sworn and civilian personnel in the effective delivery of services to the community. Volunteers supplement existing Police Department services, freeing paid employees to perform their necessary duties.
In 2017, the Paducah VIPS had 1243 hours of service. They assisted with the Iron Mom Half Marathon, the Lower Town Arts & Music Festival, the RIVERfront Concert Series, the Independence Day Celebration, BBQ on the River, Halloween on Jefferson Street, Citizens' Police Academy classes, and Christmas Cops. Paducah VIPS has 15 active members. Any citizen who is interested in VIPs should first apply to the Citizen's Police Academy program.
Why Volunteer at a Law Enforcement Agency? Simple - We Need You! Since September 11, 2001, the demands on state and local law enforcement have increased dramatically. As a result, the already limited resources of these agencies are being stretched further than ever, at a time when the country needs every available officer out on the beat. In many jurisdictions around the country, volunteers in the community have offered their time and skills to law enforcement agencies. These citizen volunteers help supplement and support officers and civilian personnel by allowing them to concentrate on their primary duties. Volunteer roles may include performing clerical tasks, serving as an extra set of "eyes and ears," assisting with search and rescue activities, and writing citations for accessible parking violations. VIPS often work in the historic downtown Paducah business district in to help with parking enforcement and to help with community events and festivals.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with VIPS, please contact us.
Officer Travis Counts, VIPS Coordinator