Volunteer- Paragraph Titles

In basic terms, the VIP program functions as a unit of the Ventura Police Department. Beyond those of any private citizen, VIP members have no powers of arrest. They carry no weapons. However, when on patrol in their dedicated and marked VIP cars, they are in direct communication with police dispatchers for purposes of obtaining a sworn officers response to any criminal or suspicious activity they may observe. These extra eyes, ears, and helping hands enable the police to provide better service to the City of Ventura.

Functions and Tasks

VIP members on patrol always use the two-person 'buddy system' for safety reasons. In addition to patrol, VIP members have assumed other tasks. They provide administrative support to specialized units and divisions. Some of these tasks were previously the responsibility of full-time police personnel. However, none of the duties assumed by VIP volunteers jeopardize the job security of paid employees in any way. The objective of the VIP program is to free up available duty time of police personnel in order to allow them more time to perform higher priority police functions.

a. Vacation House Checks

VIP patrol units perform all Ventura vacation house checks when residents are away for extended periods of time. Any unusual circumstances are radioed to police dispatch for response by a patrol officer. Volunteers then withdraw from the residence, keeping it under surveillance until an officer arrives.

b. Extra Foot Patrol

Each scheduled VIP patrol unit included in their assignments selective enforcement of certain areas in need of extra surveillance and patrol. The VIP's distinctive uniform and marked patrol car, compatible with those of full-time police personnel, enhances the community's identification with the volunteer program and the police department.

Positive citizen contact is a high priority activity for VIP members while on patrol.

c. parking Enforcement

VIP units assist with the police department's parking enforcement function. Upon identifying parking related violations of the California Vehicle Code and Ventura Municipal Code, VIPs are authorized to issue citations.

d. Traffic Control

VIP units may be asked to assist with traffic control at accident scenes, with disabled motorists, or during special events. They have received training in directing and diverting traffic, the use of traffic cones and flares, and manning barricades.

e. Basic First Aid

All VIPs receive training and become certified in basic first aid and CPR. They have been instructed to provide assistance only in an emergency while on patrol, and prior to the arrival of official medical assistance. The first priority of a VIP is to radio for officers and fire and ambulance support, and then offer necessary assistance to the victim(s).

f. Report Writing

After receiving specialized, extensive report writing training, some VIP members are certified to respond to specific property crime calls for service and prepare official police reports. Generally, VIP report writing is restricted to the following list of police calls for service, where no suspect is known, and only when directed.

  • Burglary to a vehicle or outbuilding
  • Found or lost property
  • Petty and grand theft
  • Vandalism
g. Other Assigned Tasks

There may be times when VIPs will be called upon to assist law enforcement officials with other police tasks. Examples are distributing police flyers, conducting special surveillance, and responding to emergency callouts. Most of these special tasks are based on a volunteer's individual availability.