Civilians Handle Minor Duties for Strapped Police...

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iMONITOR

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Civilians handle minor duties for strapped police
Departments under budget burdens hire outside help
By Alan Gomez
USA TODAY


Facing tighter budgets, law enforcement agencies across the country are increasingly turning to civilians to respond to some calls that sworn officers and deputies are usually responsible for.

That means people calling 911 to report a traffic accident, a burglarized home or a stolen car may be greeted by a civilian in a polo shirt instead of a gun-toting officer.
"It hasn't been universally adopted throughout the country. But most areas have at least thought about the alternative and are more open to it now because of the economy," said Richard Brady, president of the Palo Alto, Calif.-based Matrix Consulting Group that has worked with more than 250 law enforcement agencies.

The idea of using civilians, who require less training and are less expensive than sworn officers, to respond to minor police calls has been around since the late 1980s.
Brady said the practice died off for years as the economy improved and departments were augmented after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

As the economy slows again and state and local governments face major cuts, many have turned back to the old practice. Among them:

•The Orange County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office plans to hire 18 civilian "field service officers" in the coming months.

•The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department hopes to add a dozen civilian report takers.

•The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department will resume hiring for its civilian officer program this summer, hoping to add five.

Civilians have long been used to handle tasks such as dispatching and other administrative duties in the office — but sending them into the field for even routine calls that have little chance of becoming dangerous has been a contentious issue.
Lynne Jantz, director of selection for the Las Vegas police department, said civilians working for the police don't respond to accidents where alcohol or injuries are involved.

Since the unit was created in 2003, Jantz said, no civilian officers have been injured.
"Maybe a paper cut," she said.

Capt. Mark Strobridge, who oversees Orange County's implementation of the civilian program, said civilians will be deployed only during daylight hours and will not work in high-crime areas.

The benefit, according to Jantz and Strobridge, is that civilians can free up sworn officers from filling out mundane reports to concentrate on higher-priority crimes. The civilians concentrate on property damage, lost and stolen property and other things that require a police report for insurance purposes but don't require a sworn officer.

The civilians also come much cheaper. In Las Vegas, a sworn officer who has cleared his initial probation period makes at least $54,000. Starting salary for civilian responders is $32,000.

Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, said civilians have worked well in some administrative office duties, but there's a "bright line" between what civilians can do and what sworn officers carrying guns can do.

Pasco said that even the most simple-looking traffic accident can escalate into road rage or worse, putting the civilian officer in danger.

"If it's a routine fender bender, there is no way of knowing whether the person involved is (fleeing) from a bank robbery or a drug deal or just taking the kids home," he said.

When any basic investigation is required, Pasco said, civilians are far more likely to make mistakes that can help accused criminals escape a conviction. In Orange County, sworn officers receive 10 months of training, compared with three months for civilians.
"There's a tremendous potential for a gap, and that gap will be filled by a defense attorney," Pasco said. "You get what you pay for."

http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20080331/a_civiliancops31.art.htm
 

Austin4Wyo

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Here in my (admittedly rural) locale in Wyoming, we've got several "community officers" that are non-sworn and run around doing the parking enforcement, dealing with traffic complaints, auto accidents, vandalism/theft/petty crime reports and what not. It seems that it does indeed help free up some of our officers for other things, particularly the Sheriff's Office which handles a county of 4,300 square miles. I suppose with the right training, it can be useful to any department, though I hope there is some sort of evaluation on the training as there would be with the localized academiese.
 

kb2vxa

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Lemme see here, do I get a car or do I have to foot the bill?
Uh, well, do I get to fuel up at the city yard?
EH? Hmmmm.... well do I at least get to talk on the radio?
OK, if you pay me more than a cop that might just about cover expenses BUT since you pay me less AND I have to take money out of MY pocket that's like paying for the "privilege" of having a job. FO-GIT-IT! I made more money delivering pizza.

Please remind me to remove tongue from cheek next time. (;->)
 

hoser147

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I can see where it would help out on some things like parking enforcement, minor fender benders, its just another set of eyes and ears out there also. Then on the other hand ya got the wannabee's out there going overboard on a power trip or something. Guess its just somethng that will either pan out or not...............Hoser
 

N1508J

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None of the below

kb2vxa said:
Lemme see here, do I get a car or do I have to foot the bill?
Uh, well, do I get to fuel up at the city yard?
EH? Hmmmm.... well do I at least get to talk on the radio?
OK, if you pay me more than a cop that might just about cover expenses BUT since you pay me less AND I have to take money out of MY pocket that's like paying for the "privilege" of having a job. FO-GIT-IT! I made more money delivering pizza.

Please remind me to remove tongue from cheek next time. (;->)

Those civilians contemplating working for the police will still have to turn in their scanners while on "duty" lest they hear non-encrypted secure communications. Pocket knives will also be held till you are off duty since they are considered a weapon. You must sign a "waver of your right of self defense" in order to hold harmless the Department in case you are assaulted and killed....wait, forget that, all citizens are prohibited from defending themselves these days.
You will be dispatched using your own cell phone (NO POLICE RADIOS ALLOWED FOR THE IGNORANT PUBLIC CITIZEN) at your own expense and you will be subject to ARREST for using your phone if caught driving! Should you fail to arrive at a call within 5 minuets, you will be fined an amount equal to the funds which would have been required had an authentic LEO been dispatched. Additionally, fines for parking in the middle of the street like real LEO's practice will be levied at triple the normal rate.

Applications await at your local pastry shop.
 

RodStrong

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Most of these guys are old geysers and retirees who volunteer a couple days a week by doing non confrontational duties. They enjoy giving to the community, and the depts. of course benefit from the free labor and not having certified Officers bogged down doing some of that stuff. Win-win for everyone.
 

kb2vxa

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"Most of these guys are old geysers..."

They may be old but they can still spout? Must be Viagra in the Dunk In Donuts.

"Win-win for everyone."

As long as they don't eat all the donuts!
 
N

nec208

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That means people calling 911 to report a traffic accident, a burglarized home or a stolen car may be greeted by a civilian in a polo shirt instead of a gun-toting officer.
"It hasn't been universally adopted throughout the country. But most areas have at least thought about the alternative and are more open to it now because of the economy," said Richard Brady, president of the Palo Alto, Calif.-based Matrix Consulting Group that has worked with more than 250 law enforcement agencies.

The idea of using civilians, who require less training and are less expensive than sworn officers, to respond to minor police calls has been around since the late 1980s.
I'm happy I'm not in the US in those states.The US is really getting bad.Give it other 10 years you going to have to pay for emergency service.
 

BoxAlarm187

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nec208 said:
Give it other 10 years you going to have to pay for emergency service.
Plenty of places already charge for EMS response, some charge for fire response. Not familiar with any PD fees though!
 

ssd

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sac police has 12 cso that take traffic accident calls 459 b/e reports vandalism reports. thay use police cars and can rool cod 3 to tc. ssd has vips wich do some street patrols report calls. spd cso can cray oc and have radios the new xts2500 cool my bud is one
 

RolnCode3

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ssd said:
sac police has 12 cso that take traffic accident calls 459 b/e reports vandalism reports. thay use police cars and can rool cod 3 to tc. ssd has vips wich do some street patrols report calls. spd cso can cray oc and have radios the new xts2500 cool my bud is one
Sac PD CSO's cannot drive Code3 to any call. They do drive the older squads, carry radios, and take reports, however.

Sac Sheriff VIP's do mostly vacation property checks. They are often senior citizens who volunteer their time. They try hard, but I don't think they're given all that much responsibility.
 

Zaratsu

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i'll keep it simple.

lack of oversight

lack of constitutional and legal limitations of power of police


blackwater-lite sent to respond to a underage bonfire party your daughter is at? They will scare her, (and likely you) from saying anything about what really happened when they "responded"

citizens need to monitor their own communities so that police can concentrate on the big stuff. Got a neighbor flagrently littering/illiegally parking. Get the neighbors together and let the offender know. Illiegal burn of leaves next door? How far does your garden hose shoot? Too many people having to call the cops on little things because the communities dont stand up for each other. When one person does their own thing, nobody does anything about it.!

okay it wasnt short.
 
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