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 to 911.
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 activity.
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 children.
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.