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Examiner
  • Police volunteer program participation quadruples

  • Started in 2008, the Blue Springs Police Department’s Volunteer in Police Service program has quadrupled its number of volunteers, providing a valuable service to the community and saving the city money.

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  • Started in 2008, the Blue Springs Police Department’s Volunteer in Police Service program has quadrupled its number of volunteers, providing a valuable service to the community and saving the city money.
    “We started with 10 volunteers,” said Sgt. Allen Kintz at this week's Blue Springs City Council meeting. “We currently have 37 and have served more than 21,000 volunteer service hours since we started. To me that is a whole bunch of hours, which saves us money.”
    The VIPS program uses citizen volunteers to supplement the paid officers and staff in everyday responsibilities. This includes helping officers in the property room, firearms record keeping, maintaining weapons in the armory, maintaining databases and other daily responsibilities that come up.
    The national program is part of Citizen Corps, which was created to help coordinate volunteer activities. According to the VIPS website, www.policevolunteers.org, the goal is to make communities safer, stronger and better prepare to respond to any emergency.
    The volunteer group also serves a vital role in a number of community programs such as National Night Out Against Crime, the Fall Fun Festival, Shop with a Blue Springs Cop, March with the Mayor, Barbecue Blaze-Off and child identification events.
    Anyone who is 16 years and older is eligible to become a member of the VIPS program, following a background check.
    “VIPS members receive monthly training and generally pick-up those duties that staff do not have time to do,” Kintz said. “Some have regular assignments, while others fill in for special events.”
    Council Member Kent Edmondson said he thinks the success of the VIPS program in Blue Springs is directly related to the Citizen’s Police Academy. The nine-week program is designed to give community members a good working knowledge of the police department. It offers a hands-on look at what law enforcement does in the community.
    “If you look at the number of people we have volunteering in the VIPS program, a majority of them came out of the Citizen’s Police Academy,” he said. “Without that program, we would not have the volunteers serving the community and saving us this kind of money.”
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