Q: HOW DO I BECOME A VOLUNTEER WITH TPD?
A: The first step to becoming a volunteer with the Topeka Police Department is to complete the Citizens Academy. This program gives citizens a more comprehensive look into the many areas of the department and allows for individuals to ask our officers questions. This class is held twice a year, in the Spring and Fall. It runs one night a week from 6:00-9:00pm for 14 weeks. Once completed, participants who wish to apply to become a volunteer with the department through the VIPS (Volunteers In Police Service) program or the Citizens Academy Ambassadors may fill out the appropriate application and return the forms to the Volunteer Coordinator. Participants must be at least 18 years old, and will be subject to a background check. Applications for the Fall 2016 Citizens Academy are being accepted now and can be picked up at the LEC or found online at www.topeka.org/TPD.
Q: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A VIPS AND AN AMBASSADOR?
A: The VIPS (Volunteers In Police Service) program offers citizens the opportunity to provide patrol and administrative assistance to the officers of the department. Following the completion of Citizens Academy, training to become a VIPS on Patrol begins with 32 hours of officer ride-a-longs followed by 40 hours of training with the VIPS Field Training Officers. VIPS provide administrative or patrol assistance to the Topeka Police Department, and other Public Safety and Emergency Medical Services in the completion of their duties, subject to specific guidelines of conduct and responsibilities. VIPS are not sworn officers and may not be assigned to law enforcement functions that require the authority of a sworn officer. A few examples of duties that administrative and patrol VIPS have include: records management and filing, data entry, traffic control, crowd control, DUI check lanes, vacation house watch, neighborhood and school patrol and security, abandoned vehicle checks, and much more.
The Topeka Police Department Citizens Academy Ambassadors is a 501(c)3 public charity operating in partnership with the Topeka Police Department. To become an Ambassador, individuals must have completed the Citizens Academy, followed by submitting an application along with $15 of annual dues. The organization offers various law enforcement-sponsored training events and workshops as a continuation of training and education from the Citizens Academy. The organization also participates in many community events as ambassadors for the Topeka Police Department. Some of the worthwhile activities that the Citizens Academy Ambassadors take part in include: fundraising events to benefit the Topeka Police Department, projects such as remodeling the ‘soft’ interview rooms at the LEC, provide treats for various law enforcement training activities throughout the year, host a reception and bus tour of neighborhood parties for National Night Out, and much more.
Q: DOES THE TOPEKA POLICE DEPARTMENT HAVE A CHAPLAINS PROGRAM?
A: Yes. For nearly 40 years, there has been a Chaplains Program at the Topeka Police Department. These men and women volunteer their time and services to serve and support the community and the employees of the Topeka Police Department. There are ten chaplains who each have on-call days and provide support to officers and employees. The chaplain assists officers with making unattended death notifications; they will make hospital visits, provide reading material, perform memorial and wedding services if requested and provide counseling to employees and their spouses. For long-term problems, referrals are made.
If you have any questions about the Chaplains Program, please contact 368-9237 or e-mail email@example.com
Q: ARE INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES WITH THE TOPEKA POLICE DEPARTMENT AVALIABLE?
A: Internship positions to high school and college students are offered through the Spring, Summer and Fall semesters. There is a limited number of positions. If interested in learning more about the internship program and how to apply, please contact 368-9237 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: DOES TPD OFFER AN OFFICER RIDE-A-LONG PROGRAM?
A: Yes. Application packets for riding with an officer can be picked up at the front desk of the Topeka Police Department or by emailing Liz Toyne, Volunteer Coordinator at email@example.com. Applicants must be 18 years of age, have no felonies and be able to pass a background check. Applicants are screened on a case by case basis and participation may be denied pending results of the background check. Citizen requested ride-a-longs are four hours long.
If interested in knowing more about volunteering with the Topeka Police Department, or registering for the next Citizens Academy program, contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Liz Toyne. She’s been with the department since November 2016, and prior to accepting her current position she was with Shawnee County Parks and Recreation where she acted as Volunteer Coordinator for Old Prairie Town. It was important to Liz to continue her work with volunteers, stating that she enjoys interacting with people and training them to assist our officers. To her, it’s a way to say thanks for their time. Volunteering with the TPD means citizens of the community are given the opportunity to serve in several facets from administrative work, to directing traffic, to checking abandoned cars, providing support, and working on special projects. To learn more, contact Liz at 785-368-9237 or firstname.lastname@example.org