Community members can help keep GRIC safe through GRPD’s new volunteer program
February 3, 2017
Thomas R. Throssell
Gila River Indian News
Ever wonder what goes on inside the hallways of the Gila River Police Department and what it takes to keep the streets of the Community safe? Now is the chance to find out through GRPD’s new Volunteers In Policing (VIPs) program.
The GRPD is primarily looking for Community members, but also non-members as well, to take part in a variety of the department’s daily duties through their VIPs program, which allows eligible volunteers, who pass a preliminary background check, to take part in various policing activities.
GRPD Sgt. Paul Maroney said the activities volunteers will be asked to participate in are safe and will consist of duties like traffic control, parking assistance, funeral escorts, answering telephones, foot patrols, and administrative duties.
“These positions…are activities in the public, they are non-confrontational,” he said. “Let’s say they want to do a foot patrol in the elderly community in District 1 or 2…it [will be] walking around meeting and greeting, saying hello, and creating awareness.”
The basis of the program is to help Community members take ownership of their community and assist the police department by working side by side with GRPD officers, all-the-while helping the department by assisting with the community orientated side of law enforcement.
While the VIPs program is looking for participants of GRPD’s Citizens Police Academy to signup for volunteer service, the program is open primarily to Community members then to the general public.
“It is open to anybody, in or outside of the Community,” said Maroney. “We want people to come…and see what it is that we do. [We want] for them to get involved in our activities.”
Maroney added that the program is also open to volunteers of all backgrounds and career fields.
Recently three volunteers of the program helped GRPD with administrative duties, and their reasons for volunteering were very different.
One of the volunteers, said Maroney, was studying to become a doctor and instead of going the typical route of volunteering at a doctor’s office, they wanted to experience what it was like to work in public safety, so they joined the program.
Another volunteer joined the program because they were interested in police work and now are looking to become part of GRPD, he said.
And lastly, a recent volunteer, who is going to school for a bachelors degree in forensics, is volunteering their time with the GRPD to learn more about working in public safety, he said.
Officer Caroline Brown, GRPD Public Information Officer, added that the VIPs program is especially beneficial to people who are interested in helping the Community by donating their time to the police department but aren’t looking to become a full-fledged police officer.
“We have groups within the Community that want to work in conjunction with the police department,” said Brown. “They want to come out and volunteer and the [VIPs] program would be one of the great ways they can do that, [to] come out and help us with things…[like] funeral escorts or department sponsored events,” she said.
For more information about the Volunteers In Policing program or to apply as a volunteer, contact Officer Caroline Brown at (520) 562-7197 or email Caroline.Brown@gric.nsn.us.us.