- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 2, 2004

UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL

The Justice Department said Friday that civilian participation in a national law-enforcement assistance program has doubled since last year.

The number of civilians in the department’s Volunteers in Police Service program (VIPS) increased from 27,000 in 2003 to 69,000 civilians nationwide. VIPS now operates 1,000 programs across the country, nearly doubling last year’s 585 programs.

The program is administered by the department’s Office of Justice Programs and assists local law enforcement in every state and the District of Columbia.

VIPS is one of four Citizen Corps programs, part of USA Freedom Corps, President Bush’s initiative to encourage community service and participate directly in homeland security.

The goal of the VIPS program is to enhance the volunteer capacity of state and local law-enforcement agencies, the department said.

For example, the 911 Explorer Post, affiliated with the Albion, N.Y., Police Department, has nine volunteers trained in basic police tactics who provide security at schools and community events.

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