FAQ – Volunteers
- What is the Volunteers in Police Service Program?
- What is a volunteer in police service?
- How do I sign up to become a volunteer in police service?
- How can I find a VIPS program in my community?
- Are there requirements to volunteer with a law enforcement agency?
- Will a law enforcement agency be able to use my skills and expertise?
- How will I benefit from volunteering?
- What is the Citizen Corps?
The Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) Program is a national program that serves as a gateway to resources and information for and about law enforcement volunteer programs of all kinds. The program's ultimate goal is to enhance the capacity of state and local law enforcement to utilize volunteers.
The VIPS Program defines a volunteer in police service as someone who performs service for the department without promise, expectation, or receipt of compensation for services rendered. This includes individuals completing unpaid internships, unpaid chaplains, persons providing administrative support, persons who are unpaid reserve officers and persons involved in an Explorer Post, among others.
The national VIPS Program does not recruit or place volunteers. Potential volunteers are screened and placed by state, tribal or local law enforcement agencies that offer volunteer opportunities.
You can search the VIPS directory of registered programs here. The directory includes contact information and a description of volunteer opportunities available. If you do not find a law enforcement agency in your community in the directory, contact the agency directly to find out if they have a volunteer program.
Policies for law enforcement-based volunteer programs will differ from agency to agency. Most volunteer programs will require a background check. There may also be requirements based on age, background and availability. You should check with the agency’s volunteer coordinator to find out any special requirements.
Law enforcement agencies seek a variety of skills. When you apply, you will be screened and interviewed by the agency to determine your skills, talents, and knowledge. A volunteer coordinator will then determine if there is an appropriate volunteer position for you.
Volunteers have the opportunity to give back to their country, their state, and their city through the hours they volunteer. Volunteers gain invaluable insights into our nation's law enforcement system and how it works. Volunteers have the opportunity to improve the quality of their local law enforcement service through their work, their attitude, and ideas for improving programs.
Citizen Corps was created to help coordinate volunteer activities that will make our communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to any emergency situation. It provides opportunities for people to participate in a range of measures to make their families, their homes, and their communities safer from the threats of crime, terrorism, and disasters of all kinds. It is comprised of five programs (Neighborhood Watch, Medical Reserve Corps, Community Emergency Response Teams, and Volunteers in Police Service) and affiliate organizations. Citizen Corps activities are coordinated at the local level by Citizen Corps Councils.