Thursday, May 23, 2013
WHAT IS VIP?
Volunteers In Patrol (VIP) is a neighborhood patrol
program designed to reduce crime through increased cooperation between
citizens and the Dallas Police Department (DPD). Citizen volunteers
donate their time to patrol their neighborhoods by driving their own
vehicles. The vehicles are very visible, being equipped with flashing
amber light and signs attached to the sides, front, and rear. They are
trained by the DPD to observe, recognize, and report suspicious or
criminal activity. Once detected, this activity is immediately reported
The program is non-confrontational. The volunteers are
trained to not approach suspicious activity or persons, but to back away
from the situation and, if possible, remain in sight and observe until
the police respond. This program allows citizens to take an active role
in crime prevention by becoming the eyes and ears of the DPD.
The program also brings the neighborhood closer
together by building camaraderie between the residents, which creates a
safer environment and a better quality of life. It also sends a message
that the neighborhood is aware, alert, and will not tolerate criminal
Additionally, VIP personnel will maintain a vigil to
be alert for situations or activity in the neighborhood that, while not
suspicious, might help to create problems or criminal activity, and to
report such situations to their respective neighbors. For example: open
garage or house doors that would allow unauthorized entry, wandering
unattended children, and open yard gates that allow access to pools by
There must be structure to the VIP group with
officers, rules, and by-laws. It must evolve from and remain part of a
recognized crime watch organization or homeowners’ association. The
group must maintain contact with the DPD Divisional Interactive
Community Policing (ICP) officer.
Volunteers must be at least 21 years of age, be in
good health, have a valid driver’s license, and have no criminal record.
They must complete applications that are submitted to the DPD for
background checks. Once approved, applicants must complete an eight-hour
training program administered by the DPD. The course consists of:
- Instruction in patrol procedure and discipline.
- DPD geographical designations ¾ divisions, beats,
and reporting areas.
- Observation skills.
- Patrol log maintenance and record keeping.
- 911 reporting procedures.