The Lone Tree Police Department is looking for a few good men and women to round out the force's Volunteers in Policing program. VIPs are asked to commit to four hours a week, attend a training class and pass a background check.
VIPs, who must be …
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VIPs, who must be Lone Tree residents and at least 18 years of age, perform a variety of tasks that both help police officers make effective use of their time and help keep community members in Lone Tree safe.
“Our volunteers do everything from patrol neighborhoods in marked cars, to walking the malls, doing office work, filing or working with victims of crimes to offer support and information,” said Tim Beals, sergeant over professional standards for Lone Tree.
VIPs spend one week in training to understand the role of the VIP in the neighborhood, resources available to victims, the court process and how to offer emotional support to victims of crimes.
“It can be a very traumatic experience to, say, have your car broken into. You can feel violated and frustrated and just not know what the next step is,” Beals said. “Our VIPS can help walk a person through the process from start to finish, remind them to call their insurance, let them know what happens when it's time for court. All of that helps our citizens feel a little better.”
Police departments are mandated to offer victim advocate services in certain cases, such as assault or abuse. VIPs make it possible to offer counseling services to all, Beals said.
“We are not advocating just for the listed crimes that are mandated, but rather for everyone who needs it,” Beals said.
Jennifer Roger Flynn recently joined the department as a designated victim's advocate, and will help train VIPs in dealing with victims of abuse.
Ryan Deleon has volunteered with the VIPs for seven years, and said he joined because of his long-standing interest in police work and helping people out.
“We offer a lot of services to the community, all of which are designed to help officers make better use of their time," Deleon said. "We are just the eyes and ears of the police department. We never initiate contact, and we remain in the safest place possible during an incident."
A popular, but little-known service provided by VIPs are house watches. Residents who are going to be away for an extended period of time can notify the VIPs of their absence, and volunteers will patrol the neighborhood and keep an eye on the house, including checking doors and walking the property.
Lone Tree resident Dave Singer has used the VIP services for many years, as he and his wife travel extensively on a regular basis.
“They have my number and my neighbor's numbers. One time they called to let me know a package was sitting on my porch and they didn't want to leave it there for thieves,” Singer said. “Lone Tree is a great place to live, and these services just make it even greater.”
For more information on the Lone Tree Police Department volunteers or to request an application, please call Sgt. Tim Beals at 720-509-1159, email email@example.com or go to the city's website, www.cityoflonetree.com, and search for "police volunteers."
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