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Friday, March 13, 2020

Alexandria Police Department Honors Some Very Special VIPs

Alexandria Volunteers in Police Service, or V.I.P.S. were honored for their service (l to r): Harold Hornsby, Rick Montgomery, Sandy Decker, Lieutenant Natalie Selby, Jerry Bowman, Assistant Chief Joe Alexander.
(not pictured: James Dahmann)

By Robin Gee, city council beat editor

Five "VIPs" were recognized for their contributions to the city of Alexandria during the March 5 city council meeting. In Alexandria, V.I.P.S. stands for the Volunteers in Police Services, a special trained volunteer program designed to provide value-added support for the Alexandria Police Department.

The five individuals were honored for providing the most hours of service to the program in 2019. Together, all 24 V.I.P.S. participants racked up 2,500 hours of community service last year, said Alexandria Police Lieutenant Natalie Selby.

"During these hours, they assisted our department with traffic accidents, school patrols, parades, and vacation and business checks. They are an instrumental part of our department," she said.

V.I.P.S. volunteers recognized at the meeting were James Dahmann ( with 208 hours), Sandy Decker (208), Jerry Bowman (286), Harold Hornsby (291) and with the most hours, Rick Montgomery (332).

City officials thanked all the members of the V.I.P.S. program. Other volunteers are Jeff Claybern, Kristin Snow, Mike Anderson, Paul Dickerson, Ray Markus, Jim Helton, Gayle Litmer, Bob Edgar, Rebecca Francis, Ron Koeninger, Karena Downing, Joseph E. Alexander, Rodney Henson, Denny Newberry, Dan Brogan, Charlie Grow, Susan Vanlandingham, Jenny Vildibill and Penny See.

"Two thousand, five hundred hours is something to be proud of,” said Mayor Andy Schabell. “Thank you for all the help you’ve given to our city."

Duties of V.I.P.S. volunteers

The volunteers in the V.I.P.S. program provide support and take on additional duties to free up police officers to provide policing and law enforcement.

Duties might include helping the clerical staff, following up with victims and giving them agency referrals, participation in citizen patrol programs, business and vacation checks and traffic control duties. An offshoot of the program provides volunteers trained specifically to work in area schools.

Alexandria’s program began in 2004 and since that time, the police department estimates V.I.P.S. volunteers have contributed 13,641 hours of service, saving the community more than $272,000. Trained V.I.P.S. participants work in records, evidence collection, investigations, citizen patrols, victim assistance, tactical and firearms training.

The V.I.P.S. in Schools program provides trained volunteers within schools to assist with keeping students and faculty safe from harassment, fighting, bullying and other issues. The volunteers serve as police and community liaisons.

Volunteers may help with monitoring student arrival and departure, registering and tracking visitors, patrolling school buildings and grounds before and after hours and assisting with special events.

Training and requirements for V.I.P.S.

Those interested in the program go through the same background checks that police officers do including criminal history and reference checks, and all city personnel hiring policies, such as drug and medical tests. Those in the school program are also submitted to a polygraph test.

Volunteers take a 30-hour V.I.P.S. training course. School volunteers also take 10 hours of specific training in the social service elements of the departments’ School Resource Officer program.

See the Alexandria Police Department V.I.P.S. program and the V.I.P.S. in the Schools program for more information.

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