Volunteers in Police Services

The Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) are a group of concerned  citizens who donate their time as uniformed personnel. Volunteers are  utilized in a non-confrontational manner. They have no arrest powers,  and carry no weapons. This limits their duties to areas that are  non-enforcement in nature. The Port Orange Police Department has turned  this group of volunteers into an asset for the citizens of Port Orange.    

Through the Police Department has only 84 sworn officers, the  VIPS presently have 55 members under the direction of the VIPS Police  Coordinator. In a growing city such as Port Orange, traffic safety is  among our highest concerns. With one of the smallest per capita police  forces in the State of Florida, sworn personnel are often busy  responding to calls or other assignments. Traffic programs are therefore  sometimes difficult to staff. The VIPS have been organized into an  extremely effective tool that can fill gaps in the following areas:

Traffic Crash Response 
      VIPS are equipped and trained to respond to traffic crashes when  requested. They assist patrol officers by assuming some traffic control  duties. All of the participating volunteers receive the state mandated  course on traffic direction. This additional manpower increases  efficiency and decreases the risk of additional crashes.
     

Special Events
      The VIPS control traffic points during special events such as Bike  Week, Speed Weeks, Spring Break, Family Days, Independence Day  celebration, and the annual Christmas parade.
     
Vacation House Watch
      This is one of the most important duties the VIPS perform. By  completing the Vacation House Watch form, a citizen is notifying the  Department that they will be away from home for a specific period of  time, not to exceed 90 days. During that time, the VIPS will check the  house routinely, as manpower permits, to detect and prevent criminal  activity. The Department does not guarantee any minimum level of  surveillance or that criminal activity will always be prevented, however  it is a valuable service that is provided to citizens that are  temporarily away from home.

Other Activities
      VIPS are equipped and trained to handle numerous support services  for the Department, including courier service, fingerprinting, bicycle  registration and equipment maintenance. They perform services in  virtually every division.

The VIPS could easily have developed into a "club" for volunteers  with no actual direction. After recognizing the need for services such  as Vacation House Watches and traffic control, the program has developed  into a successful operation with membership nearly equal to that of the  sworn personnel. Though there is not one single initiative that has  been enumerated, the VIPS are a highly effective, flexible tool that has  been designed to serve the public by pursuing all areas of public  safety. If you are interested in becoming part of the VIPS team, call  386-506-5825 for an application.