Attorney General Ashcroft Announces Citizen Corps' Volunteers in Police Service Initiative

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Attorney General John Ashcroft today launched the Citizen Corps’ Volunteers in Police Service (VIPs) initiative. The VIPs program is a response to President George W. Bush’s call to all Americans to dedicate time to serving our communities and our nation, and is one of several opportunities emerging through the new Citizen Corps initiative to enhance local homeland security efforts and make emergency preparedness a part of our daily lives. "The efforts of these volunteers enable officers to stay on the front lines where they are needed most," said Attorney General John Ashcroft. "Through programs such as Volunteers in Police Service, volunteers can assist police in performing routine duties which are necessary to the efficient operation of their departments. Though the work may not be glamorous, it is essential." Volunteers who participate in VIPs programs assist departments by performing non-sworn duties such as answering phones, compiling crime data, preparing incident reports, and facilitating crime prevention programs. VIPs is the first program to bring together law enforcement volunteer programs nationwide to share resources and support each other’s efforts. This national initiative assists state and local law enforcement agencies by increasing the number of law enforcement volunteers, expanding or improving various components of existing programs, and aiding agencies without VIPs programs to establish them. "President Bush created his USA Freedom Corps initiative to help Americans respond to the terrorist attacks of September 11 with acts of kindness and compassion," said John Bridgeland, Director of the USA Freedom Corps, the White House coordinating council that oversees the Citizen Corps and its programs. "Programs like VIPs create new opportunities for citizens to get involved." Ashcroft also unveiled the VIPS website, a comprehensive website developed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to support the VIPs program. "The website coordinates information from VIPs programs in our local communities to create a nationwide resource," said William Berger, President of the IACP. "It provides information about all VIPs programs, and allows law enforcement agencies and volunteers alike to communicate in order to improve their programs and create more opportunities for volunteer services." Citizens are encouraged to visit the website to find out how they can become involved in VIPS programs in their communities.

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