How Departments are Using Volunteers
The IACP surveyed registered volunteer programs through its Volunteers in Policing project earlier this year. The survey, conducted over the Internet, resulted in 115 law enforcement agencies responses. Several key factors will be of interest to police departments.
Experience with volunteers varied significantly:
- Of those surveyed, 72 percent of law enforcement agencies have had volunteers for more than seven years.
- The total number of volunteers ranged from 2 to more than 8,000.
- The total number of volunteer hours contributed in the previous year ranged from 1 to 70,000.
Agencies were asked about the structure and management of their volunteer programs:
- 97 percent said they have a volunteer program manager or coordinator. Of these agencies, 50 percent said their managers were sworn employees.
- 55 percent said they coordinate Neighborhood Watch activities in their jurisdictions.
- 40 percent said they coordinated with an external program such as a citizen corps council, a Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, or a volunteer center to recruit volunteers.
Respondents were asked to rate the importance of various factors referred to below. The following percentages of respondents indicated that the described factor was “important” or “very important:”
- 94 percent cited value added to the department.
- 92 percent cited the ability for officers to respond to more pressing needs.
- 90 percent cited the ability to provide additional services.
- 85 percent cited enhancing citizen understanding of the police.
- 81 percent cited liability concerns.
- 81 percent cited confidentiality concerns.
- 66 percent cited turnover of volunteers.
- 63 percent cited cost to administer the volunteer program.
- 63 percent cited required training expenses.
Additionally, 96 percent of respondents rated the contributions of volunteers to agency effectiveness and productivity as “essential” or “very essential.”
- 97 percent of agencies perform a records check on potential volunteers.
- 94 percent of agencies do not accept individuals with felony convictions.
- 89 percent of agencies require volunteers to undergo orientation and/or training.
- 88 percent have written rules and regulations governing volunteer activities.
- 88 percent require an interview before acceptance into the volunteer program.
- 88 percent require some or all of their volunteers to wear uniforms.
- 56 percent provide some type of insurance coverage for volunteers.
- 30 percent formally evaluate volunteers.
- 26 percent provide volunteers with nonmonetary benefits, services, or incentives, such as training.
The full report contains the following sections: Part I: Agency Profile; Part II: Volunteer Program Profile; Part III: Products and Resources; Part IV: Recommendations; and an Appendix—Detailed Responses. The report can be viewed on the Volunteers in Policing Web site at http://www.policevolunteers.org.
Promising Practices for Internal Affairs
In November, 2009, IACP released its report Building Trust Between the Police and the Citizens They Serve: An Internal Affairs Promising Practices Guide for Local Law Enforcement. This guide is for law enforcement executives who strive to do the following:
- Prevent misconduct within their departments
- Properly address misconduct, should it occur
- Build and maintain community trust and confidence
- Create and maintain an ethical work environment
- Develop and sustain trust between their organizations and the communities that they serve.
While many existing publications address the internal affairs process, law enforcement integrity, and police/community relations, a hands-on guide to building community trust and ethical policing has not been available. The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (the COPS Office), U.S. Department of Justice and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) partnered to create Building Trust Between the Police and the Citizens They Serve: An Internal Affairs Promising Practices Guide for Local Law Enforcement.
This guide standardizes the practices and procedures for how law enforcement executives address ethical or misconduct problems within their departments. Several tools and resources, including a glossary of relevant terms, help make the information as accessible as possible. The guide is the result of a thorough and detailed assessment of strategies that will best serve law enforcement in its quest for ethical and honest policing.
This guide outlines how to organize and operate the internal affairs function in a police department for building and maintaining community trust. The guide can be downloaded from the IACP Web site at www.theiacp.org.
Traffic Safety Innovations 2008–2009
The IACP National Law Enforcement Challenge focuses on three major traffic safety priorities: occupant protection, impaired driving, and speeding. In 2009, more than 500 applications were received containing many innovative traffic safety ideas. To provide a snapshot of many of these ideas, the publication Traffic Safety Innovations 2008–2009 is available on the IACP Web site. The following are among the subjects covered:
- Bike / Pedestrian Safety
- Child Passenger Safety
- Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety
- Impaired Driving
- Motorcycle Safety
- Occupant Protection
- Speed Awareness
- Underage Alcohol Prevention
To obtain a copy of Traffic Safety Innovations 2008–2009 visit the IACP Web site at www.theiacp.org.
Technologies for Critical Incident Preparedness
The 11th annual Technologies for Critical Incident Preparedness Conference and Exposition (TCIP 2010) highlights the U.S. Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Defense technologies. The research, developments, testing, and evaluation investments, as well as training tools currently available and being developed for the emergency responder community, are highlighted.
This exposition provides a forum for emergency responders to discuss best practices and exchange information. With 150 exhibits and demonstrations expected, this conference provides the opportunity to network, exchange ideas, and address common critical incident technology, preparedness, response and recovery needs, protocols, and solutions.
The National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice; Science and Technology Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense sponsor this exposition for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs, U.S. Department of Defense.
The exposition is on February 2 through February 4, 2010, at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown Hotel. Registration is free. For more information, visit the TCIP 2010 Web site at www.tcipexpo.com.
Counterfeit and Illegal Medicines
In response to an ever-increasing number of Web sites supplying dangerous and illegal medicines, Operation Pangea II involving 24 countries was coordinated by INTERPOL and the World Health Organization’s (WHO), International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT) to highlight the dangers of buying medicines online.
National medicines regulators, police, and customs officials worked closely together on the global operation November 16–20, 2009, focusing on the three principle components used by an illegal Web site to conduct its trade—the Internet Service Provider (ISP), payment systems, and the delivery service.
During the operation, Internet monitoring revealed 751 Web sites engaged in illegal activity, including offering controlled or prescription only drugs, 72 of which have now been taken down. In addition, regulators and customs officials inspected more than 16,000 packages, 995 packages were seized and nearly 167,000 illicit and counterfeit pills, including antibiotics, steroids, and slimming pills, were confiscated. A total of 22 individuals are currently under investigation for a range of offenses including illegally selling and supplying unlicensed or prescriptiononly medicines.
“Our primary goal in Operation Pangea II is to protect the public by removing counterfeit and illicit medicines from the market, by shutting down those engaged in illegal sales on the Web and by criminally prosecuting those potentially putting the lives of innocent consumers at risk by selling counterfeit or illicit medicines,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.
Operation Pangea II had more countries participating than last year’s operation (from 8 to 24) and added police and customs agencies to complement the work of the drug regulatory agencies. In addition, this year’s effort devoted an entire week to the operation as opposed to the one day of action in 2008. “As the very positive results of this global effort are made public, INTERPOL and its member countries will prove again that the Internet is not an anonymous safe haven for those who use it for criminal purposes. We also hope that by raising public awareness about the dangers of illegal Internet pharmacies, consumers will exercise greater care when purchasing medicines on the Internet,” added Secretary General Noble.
The operation was run with the help of WHO’s IMPACT; the World Customs Organization; the Universal Postal Union; the Permanent Forum on International Pharmaceutical Crime (PFIPC); the United Kingdom’s Medicines and Health-care products Regulatory Agency (MHRA); the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Health Canada. The police, customs, and regulatory officials of the 24 participating countries were: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. ■