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The Rolla Police Department is committed to working in partnership with our community to improve the quality of life in our town. We are dedicated to solving community problems, the reduction of crime, the preservation of laws, ordinances and the constitutional rights of all persons within our jurisdiction.
The mandate of the Rolla Police Department, like most departments, is to protect and serve our community. The department takes great pains to recruit and maintain a membership of professional, caring officers and support personnel. Unfortunately, Rolla Police Department calls for service have been considerably higher in the last few years. Offenses have been on the rise, and service-type calls have been even higher. At a time when our department’s limited resources are being stretched even further, our agency is turning to civilian volunteers to enable police officers to be more on the front lines of law enforcement, working to make our community safer. As an example, with the addition of VIPS volunteers, Rolla Police Department officers are now able to take a more aggressive stance against drug activity and illicit crimes associated with drugs.
The Rolla Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) program was established in January 2009 to promote effective use of the citizens of Rolla who wish to donate their time and talents to further the goals of the police department in response to President Bush's call to service in 2002 for all citizens of the United States.
The Rolla Police Department is an organization committed to a partnership with the Rolla Community, whose goal is to reduce crime and increase education in crime prevention. The Rolla Police Department is dedicated to principles of Community Policing. The basis of Community Service is composed of value-oriented citizens, dedicated to building the partnership between the Rolla Community and the Rolla Police Department.
The mission of the Rolla Police Department VIPS Program is to serve as a volunteer support service to the Rolla Police Department, enhancing the effectiveness of community policing through the provision of administrative, and support services.
The Purpose of the VIPS Program
The Rolla Police Department has successfully addressed two core components of community policing - Community Partnership and Problem-Solving through development of a program of trained citizens actively assisting officers. The Rolla Police Department believes that our model of the VIPS program, even in its early stages has already been successfully implemented in our community. This is not a sworn officer reserve or auxiliary program. It is a unique partnership with citizens who are willing to volunteer their time in assistance of officers.
There are at least three tangible results that have occurred following the development of our VIPS program.
Citizen volunteers, who after training have relieved patrol officers of routine tasks such as vacation security checks, morning and afternoon patrols around the schools within the City, and patrols of the City parks and bike trails. Providing just these tasks allow patrol officers to focus resources on more urgent law enforcement and community needs. This has freed patrol staff's time and increases work productivity, and allow officers to focus on tasks where their skills can be best utilized. Since January 22, 2009, VIPS Volunteers have performed thousands of vacation security checks, school patrols, and patrols around City parks and bike paths. In addition, volunteers assist the Division of Criminal Investigations with data entry and analysis. All this activity was previously performed by commissioned officers.
A stronger bridge of understanding and communication with the community and community leaders. VIPS provide a comfortable, non-threatening, resource to the community - providing direct assistance to citizens who often feel their need or questions are too trivial, and reluctant to contact the Police Department. In just a few months the volunteers have become a respected voice in our community.
Rolla Police Officers benefit from the diversity of working closely with citizens, and have turned to the volunteers as a community and personal resource, recognizing that these volunteers are citizens, but respecting the fact that they also understand the stress and difficulties of law enforcement as well.
In the City of Rolla, volunteers are not new to police work or the criminal justice system. Rolla citizens have a long history of donating time and talent in order to extend the resources or increase the services of Rolla's public safety departments. They have served as reserve police officers, explorers, and as fire and emergency unit personnel. Without their help, many valuable tasks would not be accomplished. The Rolla VIPS Program was established to more effectively utilize this community support. The program not only ensures volunteers will have the best opportunity to work where they and the department benefit most, but to increase opportunities for citizens to help shape the organizational culture to reflect the community.
Citizens volunteering to work in the VIPS division not only benefit department service delivery, they also gain an opportunity to both learn about police functions and contribute part of themselves to the organization which serves the Rolla community. The result is growth in citizen understanding and support of the Rolla Police Department as well as greater understanding and appreciation of citizens by police personnel.
The VIPS Program also brings many indirect benefits to the department, both internal and external. The department culture benefits from exposure to the talents and insight of the citizens who volunteer and relationships between the community and department grow. For example:
Volunteers bring specialized skills, experience, and consulting abilities which would otherwise not be available in the budget
Working with volunteers provides opportunities for police department employees to see the community and police work from a non-police, citizen’s perspective.
Volunteers in the workplace provide opportunities for interaction between the public and the private sector and for sharing of personal experiences.
Volunteers gain understanding and appreciation of police processes and constraints.
If you would like more information about the VIPS program, please contact VIPS Director, Sergeant Tony Lauth, at 573-308-1213.