By Brian Bloom
Individuals seeking to assist Bartlett police in non-enforcement duties may take part in the Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) program.
The brainchild of retired public affairs officer Lt. Rory Mack, VIPS is a community partnership program between volunteers and the Bartlett Police Department.
“Most people want to be involved in something greater than themselves,” Lt. Todd Halford said in explaining the program.
“We’ve done a needs assessment at the department from officers to clerks,” Halford said. “We found we could use help in a variety of areas from assisting uniform officers in non-enforcement duties to possibly taking citizen complaints.
According to Halford, volunteers may work as vehicle service transporters, assist in special events such as parades and festivals, be involved with search and rescue and work with traffic and crowd control.
Others may help in data entry, clerical and administrative assignments; they may fingerprint individuals for employment identification status, help in reception and provide assistance in the jail or court.
The benefits go both ways, Halford acknowledged. Volunteers bring their experience and skills to enhance the services provided by local police. Specially trained volunteers, such as those with automotive or mechanical backgrounds can provide needed expertise.
“Volunteer assistance allows our police officers more time to protect our citizens and deter crime,” a pamphlet reads.
Those interested in volunteering need to be 21 years or older and be a graduate of the Bartlett Citizens Police Academy as well as completing CERT within 12 months of placement.
Volunteers need to have a valid Tennessee driver’s license or identification card, pass a required background check, attend orientation and required training, volunteer a minimum of 10 hours per month and be able to follow police department confidentiality requirements.
Those interested may apply at the Bartlett Station Municipal Center on Stage Road or at Police Headquarters at Hwy 70 and Appling.