The Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) is part of a national initiative to enhance the capacity of local law enforcement by using volunteers. Post Falls Police Department’s VIPS are integral to our mission. They provide additional personnel resources to help with processing and scanning paperwork, greeting citizens in the front lobby, making phone calls, deliveries, patrolling, critical incidents and more.
Our department started the year with 18 volunteers and had 15 at the end. Together, volunteers worked 5,453 hours, saving the City of Post Falls an estimated $108,000.
A specially-trained group of VIPS, known as the Volunteers on Patrol (VOP), are available to officers and detectives for a variety of tasks. VOPs may be called out at all hours and all weather conditions to assist with critical situations. They provide traffic control, scene safety, and property watches. They assist officers on long drawn-out incidents by picking up food, coffee, or anything else the officers may need. In 2014, they responded to a shooting incident, two different missing juvenile cases, structure fire, broken gas main, double homicide, and a wind storm with downed trees and power lines.
In addition to regularly-scheduled duties, volunteers participated in a number of special events including Head Start open house, Mayor Youth Awards, and the Post Falls Festival Parade. John Bujosa has been a volunteer with the department since 2001. He represented Post Falls Police and our city at five major events in 2014. He attended SkyFest 2014 at Fairchild Air Force Base in Airway Heights, Washington, participated in the Plummer Day Parade in Plummer, Idaho as well as the Post Falls Festival Parade, attended the Spokane Police Kids and Cops car show, and the Diamonds Car Show at Bluz at the Blend in Spokane, Washington. In addition to these events, John is the coordinator for our Cops-n-Kids & Rodders-n-More Open House.
In March, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) honored Post Falls Police VIPS with the Presidential Award and certificates based upon accumulated volunteer hours. And in June, several volunteers gave a presentation on VIPS to representatives from Shoshone County, Idaho about starting volunteer programs in their communities. Volunteers also attend trainings to expand their knowledge about our department and community as well as law enforcement in general. This year, VIPS received presentations on ethics, evidence processing and storage, Facebook social media, Victim Services, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Post Falls Police VIPS offer experience, compassion, and professionalism. We appreciate their commitment to our department and community.