IACP Leadership in Volunteer Police Service Programs Award – Comprehensive Police Service Program

IACP Leadership in Volunteer Police Service Programs Award – Comprehensive Police Service Program

The IACP Leadership in Volunteer Police Service Programs Award recognizes volunteer programs that demonstrate innovative, effective practices for augmenting sworn or civilian staff and/or improving service delivery to their communities.

Applications are now closed

The 2024 award nomination period is now closed. Complete the 2025 Awards Interest Form to receive information as it becomes available.

The IACP Leadership in Volunteer Police Service Programs Award recognizes programs from around the world that demonstrate innovative, effective practices for augmenting sworn or civilian staff and/or improving service delivery to their communities through the effective use of volunteers. Established in 2003, the goal of the award program is to recognize the value that volunteers provide policing. This award promotes leadership among law enforcement agencies to develop and implement creative and effective law enforcement volunteer programs that utilize sworn volunteers or non-sworn volunteers as community ambassadors to build relationships and to prevent, investigate, and fight crime in communities. Programs recognized by this award are seen as “best practice” models which can be replicated and tailored to help better address the challenges faced by law enforcement agencies throughout the world.

For further information, contact awards@theIACP.org.

2023 Winner

Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, Florida

Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, Florida

For almost two decades, the Citizen Observer Patrol program of the Flager County Sheriff’s Office has been making a meaningful difference in their community. Their tireless efforts include patrolling neighborhoods, traffic control, answering phone calls, fingerprinting, and crime prevention. These volunteers have devoted an impressive 260,000 hours to the program, saving taxpayers almost five million dollars. In 2021, they contributed nearly 25,000 volunteer hours at the Palm Coast District Office, resulting in a savings of $944,000 in tax dollars. Thanks to this program, 96% of residents feel safe, and 84% are satisfied with the sheriff’s office services, according to the 2020-2021 annual citizen satisfaction survey. The Flager County Sheriff’s Office is a shining example of innovative and effective practices, earning them the IACP’s Leadership in Volunteer Police Programs award. Their comprehensive police service program has successfully enhanced service delivery to their community through the augmentation of sworn and civilian staff.

2022 Winner

Port St. Lucie Police Department, Florida 

Port. St Lucie - Award Winner

The Port St. Lucie Police Department volunteers play a critical role in supporting the mission of the Port St. Lucie Police Department. Some of their contributions include their courier detail, which delivers documents to/from the courthouse, jail, and other areas. The Volunteer Program operates visits for Project, whose mission is to provide timely response to save lives and reduce potential injury for adults and children with the propensity to wander due to a cognitive condition. The volunteers can help in a number of ways from placing the department’s speed camera trailers, assisting in the Crime Victims Advocate Office, and by serving as a criminal investigative aide. The volunteer work is seamlessly blended with staff according to the community needs. The volunteer Program, working as a team contributed over 4,065 hours of service to the Department during 2021.    

2021 Winner

Community Police Department, Abu Dhabi Police 

In 2016, the Abu Dhabi Police launched the "We Are All Police Initiative" to meet the strategic objective of crime prevention. This was used to increase community confidence and satisfaction, thus fulfilling requirements in line with relevant governmental directives such as the Ministry of Interior's strategic plan and the UAE 2021 Vision. The initiative was also launched in adherence to requirements of the United Nations to achieve social, environmental, and economic sustainability goals such as peace, justice, strong institutions, developing partnerships to achieve goals, sustainable national cities and communities, good health, and well-being. Volunteers have participated in organizing more than 673 volunteer opportunities, resulting in over 219,000 volunteer hours fulfilled. The initiative has achieved strong results as the number of volunteers registered for the "We Are All Police Initiative" has included over 50,000 individuals from 126 different nationalities. 

2020 Winner

Denver, Colorado, Police Department


First established in 2004, the Denver Volunteers in Police Service Program started with a vision of community partnerships through volunteers. With a renewed focus in 2013, the program was catapulted to new heights. The department’s efforts in community partnership and volunteer recruitment has led to a large group of passionate volunteers with specialized experiences. Partnerships have grown to include a diverse group of volunteers that participate and support the police operations. Volunteers often hold professional trainings for Denver Police Department (DPD) staff, serve on review boards, build community outreach programs, and more. Over the years, DPD volunteers have won many awards including Presidential Service Awards, given to volunteers who work an extraordinary number of hours. In 2019, 284 volunteers contributed 30,645 hours to the DPD, totaling $779,302 in added value for the City and County of Denver. Since the beginning of the program in 2004, volunteers have given 504,805 hours, totaling a savings of more than $12.8 million for the department.  

2019 Winner

Dayton, Ohio, Police Department

The Neighborhood Assistance Officer (NAO) program began as a federally funded grant experiment in 1969 and was fully instituted in 1970. When the grant expired, the unique form of citizen participation impressed the local government so much that it became completely funded by the City of Dayton. The current NAO volunteer program contains 18 neighborhood assistance officers and a fulltime manager. The volunteers complete 60 hours of specialized training and 6 months of street training before becoming a full duty member of the unit. They are required to work at least 1 night per week — with a minimum participation of 192 hours per year. The NAO volunteers patrol streets; assist at accident, fire, and other emergency scenes; conduct vacation house checks; provide traffic direction for community events; and fulfill other duties as needed. NAO volunteers increasingly contribute to police department community engagement activities and provide valuable support to civic participation throughout the city.

2018 Winner

Denver, Colorado, Police Department 

The Denver Police Department Volunteers in Police Service Program has demonstrated excellence in the development, management, and implementation of a volunteer program. Their volunteers provide a wide variety of services including technical support through fingerprinting, photography, and database management; administrative support; training scenarios; community events; and management of the Denver Police Museum and COP Shop. Since its inception in 2004, 1,353 citizens have volunteered over 450,000 hours to assist the department. This significant contribution of time has saved the city of Denver over $10.6 million. The Volunteers in Police Service Program  supports activities performed by the Denver Police Department, leading to a safer and more engaged community.

2017 Winners

Sarasota, Florida, Police Department

The Sarasota Police Department’s (SPD) Volunteer Program was established at the end of 2001. The roots of the program stemmed from the need to have more neighborhood crime watch participants. At that time, about two dozen volunteers made up the entire program. Since then, the community and department needs have evolved immensely. The city not only needed the SPD to be more visible, but also improve on their communication with the public through positive interactions with business owners, visitors, and residents. 

Around 2012, the SPD was facing a large amount of negative exposure in the media which, in turn, led to overwhelming public mistrust. The public’s refusal to speak with local officers coupled with their unwillingness to assist the SPD at risk of their own personal safety created profound tension. Something needed to be done to improve the relationship. 

Under the direction of a newly installed Police Chief Bernadette DiPino, the BLUE + YOU initiative was born. The goal of the initiative was simple: work towards building partnerships with community leaders by getting officers and volunteers to interact on many levels with citizens and to make the community a safer place to visit, live, and work. The hardest part would be finding willing participants to help carry out this vision. 
Participants fell into three categories:

• Neighborhood crime watch/patrol members (equipped with marked civilian patrol vehicles; acting as a second set of eyes and ears to the PD)

• Administrative members (serving an essential role to the day-to-day operations of the department)

• Ambassadors carrying informative brochures, maps, and tablets as they work to engage the local businesses, citizens and visitors to the City of Sarasota.

Chief DiPino made the decision to hire a full-time Volunteer Coordinator to focus on recruiting the right volunteers for the right positions. Many volunteers came to SPD as a direct result of attending a Citizen’s Police Academy. Others found open positions through sites like VolunteerMatch.org and through SPD’s partnership with the local YMCA mentoring program. 

Thanks to Community Policing efforts overall crime is down in the city and public trust has increased. And, through public recognition there has been a rise in business support and financial donations to the program.

Port St. Lucie, Florida, Police Department

The Port St. Lucie Police Department’s Volunteer Program compliments law enforcement services in one of the fastest growing cities in Florida. Focused leadership is at the helm of the program as volunteers are open to change and creating unique programs that will aid in meeting the needs of the community. Since the incorporation of the Port St. Lucie Police Department in 1961 it has had numerous community-minded citizens assist the agency. In May 1995, the agency officially implemented a volunteer program.

In the first year, more than 90 volunteers donated 9,000 hours of their time to assist with ancillary support services such as: updating equipment and inventory purchasing, providing clerical assistance in the Records Section and patrolling waterways with the Volunteer Marine Patrol. Since 2007, the agency has added programs such as: an additional Community Patrol, the Volunteer Response Team and Volunteer Park Patrol joining the established Crime Watch Patrol, Community Patrol, Parking Enforcement, Courier Service and Criminal Investigative Aide. Throughout 2016, the Port St. Lucie volunteers contributed 11,659 hours that saved the city approximately $274,686.

The Port St. Lucie Police Department has developed an efficient volunteer system where volunteers are regularly assessed and evaluated. The Volunteer Coordinator uses input from active volunteers, civilian staff, and sworn officers to improve tactics and make any necessary adjustments in volunteer contributions. Volunteers are recognized with monthly, quarterly, and annual awards. A good indicator of program success is the expansion of duties entrusted to the volunteers and the number of individual volunteers and community patrol hours provided. 

The Port St. Lucie Police Volunteer Program continues to serve the department by helping them reach their goals and objectives with the hard work and dedication of the surrounding community. 





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