Frequently asked questions about Volunteers In Public Safety
• How do I volunteer? Call Crime Prevention at 285-8288
• Is there any reimbursement? No
• What qualifications are required? Successful completion of background investigation, including criminal history and driving check. Police volunteers are held to the same standards as officers. A person with a criminal history, such as a conviction for drunken driving, domestic assault or underage drinking, is not allowed to serve. VIPS volunteers must be able to follow procedures accurately and work well with others. They also must go through an interview.
• What type of training is required? All VIPS volunteers must complete a one-hour police orientation, then take classroom and field training, which varies depending on the VIPs program.
For example, volunteers for parking enforcement learn about the laws involved, learn how to write tickets and how to use two-way radios to call dispatch when they are out.
• Must volunteers supply their own equipment? No. A VIPS shirt is furnished, as well as a VIPs cap, neon VIPs traffic vest and winter jacket, vehicle and gas. Volunteers pay for lunches or other personal expenses they have while on duty.
• Was it necessary to purchase special equipment, such as the radios they use in the parking enforcement duty?
No. The radios were purchased for the Community Emergency Response Team through federal grant money. The radios are kept at the law enforcement center and not with the volunteers. Volunteers telephone the dispatch center when going out on parking enforcement duty and at the end of their tours. They are trained in specific radio procedures to limit air time.
• Is Rochester the first in the state to use volunteers for parking enforcement? No, St. Paul and many of the Twin Cities suburbs have similar programs operating under a variety of names.