2013 in Review
Happy New Year from the VIPS Program! We hope you all had a happy and safe holiday season. As we ring in 2014, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on a successful year behind us.
· 89 new programs registered with VIPS, an impressive feat for an 11 year old program!
· 389 programs updated their VIPS Program Directory profiles. Is your profile up-to-date? Click here to make updates.
· 204 people registered for the Building Blocks of a Law Enforcement Volunteer Program E-learning course, bringing the total number of registrants to more than 1,000 since its launch in 2010.
· 329 law enforcement staff and volunteers from 94 agencies were trained on using the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) and other resources to help support missing person and unidentified decedent cases.
· 5 audio podcasts were added to the VIPS Podcast Series.
· 3 issues of the VIPS in Focus series were released.
· 226 law enforcement volunteer program managers completed the 2013 VIPS Program Analysis to share promising approaches, programmatic challenges, and resource needs of law enforcement volunteer programs. Read the report.
· 16 VIPS program managers participated in the VIPS State Advocate Pilot Project to assist and support state and local VIPS program. Funding does not allow us to continue the project at this time, but tip sheets with best practices for collaboration will be coming out soon.
As many of you know, 2014 will be a year of change for the VIPS Program national office. You can read more about the upcoming changes here or contact us at email@example.com or 703-647-6853 with questions.
Volunteer Program Assessment Spots Available
There are spots available to participate in a Volunteer Program Assessment (VPA) that is being offered at no cost to VIPS programs through the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Organizational Science graduate studies department. The survey is designed to help those who oversee volunteer programs “understand the strengths and weaknesses of their volunteer program from the perspective of their volunteers, and provide insights into the strategic management of their volunteer resources. (It) provides information regarding 1) your volunteers’ feelings, attitudes, and their reactions to your program, and 2) information about what they perceive as your program’s greatest strengths and areas for growth.” Your program must have at least 30 active volunteers to participate. If you are interested, contact Marjorie Trachtman, Volunteer Coordinator at the Bellevue, Washington, Police Department, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (425) 452-6017. Read more.
Are your Volunteers Ready for Winter Storms?
It has been a cold and stormy month across the country with many areas dipping to temperatures well below freezing. For many VIPS programs, this meant activation of their emergency volunteer teams. Was your unit called into service for the storm? If so, share your story with us by emailing email@example.com.
Now is also a great time to get your program prepared for the next storm. You can view the VIPS and Disaster Response video for ideas or visit the Community Emergency Response Team website for training information.
VIPS in the News
We at the VIPS Program are proud to share the stories of local VIPS volunteers out in the field by publishing news stories on the VIPS website, like this one from the Colorado Springs Police Department:
Violent crimes leave traumatized victims - and grieving family members - tasked with picking up the pieces of their lives. But a small unit in the Colorado Springs Police Department bolstered by about 30 volunteers helps them through the often painful and complex process. Last year, the Victim Advocacy Unit helped 4,600 people with such things as finding financial assistance, relocation and getting counseling, said Maricela Dennis, the volunteer advocate coordinator.
Lt. Adrian Vazquez has been with the Violent Crimes Unit for about a year-and-a-half. Initially, he knew little about victim advocacy, but his experience with the Victim Advocacy Unit made him a strong supporter of its work. "As detectives, we get so focused on wanting to solve the cases and crimes we work on, sometimes we don't recognize the needs of the victims," Vazquez said. "To us, the biggest priority is to get justice and catch the bad guy. For the advocates, their whole purpose is to bring back any peaceful and stable aspects back to the victims' lives." Read the full story.
Newly Registered VIPS Programs:
This December, we welcomed the following program to the VIPS Program Directory: