VPD Volunteer Programs

Sign up for our next Neighbors on Watch (NOW) Academy!

We are actively recruiting for our next NOW Academy that runs from April 11 – May 9. NOW volunteers participate in non-confrontational patrols throughout the city, recovery of stolen vehicles, serve as training unit role players and much MORE! Click the button below to sign up for our Spring Academy! All applications due by March 1.

Volunteers In Police Service

The Vancouver Police Department has many ways for community members to volunteer with us. Our Volunteers In Police Service (VIPS) program is the overarching volunteer umbrella for the department.

VIPS volunteers bring their time and talent to VPD through in many unique ways with projects that include helping with administrative tasks, delivering inter-office mail or working on specialized projects with various police units.

Our volunteers can also participate in a more specific volunteer opportunity such as Neighbors On Watch. We even have a micro-volunteering program called Paws On Patrol.

Vancouver Police Department volunteer opportunities are a perfect fit for people of all skills and abilities who have a few extra hours a month they can share.

For more information on how you can get started as a VPD volunteer, email Volunteer Coordinator Jordan Macfarlane at jordan.macfarlane@cityofvancouver.us.

Neighbors On Watch (NOW)

Community members in the City of Vancouver that are interested in making their neighborhoods safer are encouraged to apply for the Vancouver Police Department’s volunteer program called “Neighbors On Watch (NOW).” NOW accepts applications year-round and holds training academies several times per year. All volunteer applicants must successfully pass a screening process which includes criminal background investigation, fingerprints, interviews, and reference check.

Neighbors On Watch (NOW) citizen volunteer program

Positive relationships between the police, the community and individual community members are extremely important and are vital to the success of Community Oriented Policing. Consequently, community member volunteer programs are an integral part of the community policing efforts of the Vancouver Police Department. An especially important aspect of such efforts is the positive impact individual citizens can have on our community’s crime problems and quality of life issues.

How do I become a NOW volunteer?

Please print the Volunteer Application and attach the required documents listed on Page 5 of the application. Return the completed application (see link at the bottom of this page) to the address noted on the application packet cover sheet. To become a NOW volunteer, applicants must:

  • Be over 21-years old
  • Live in the city limits of Vancouver
  • Have a valid driver’s license and vehicle insurance
  • Successfully pass a thorough background investigation
  • Attend a 28 hour training academy
  • Commit to volunteer at least four hours per month
  • Be willing to coordinate with other volunteers to patrol city neighborhoods

Neighbors On Watch objectives:

  • To assist the police department through observation
  • To help reduce crime and improve the quality of life in in our neighborhoods
  • To foster cooperation between community members and police officers
  • To educate citizens on crime prevention
  • To create a high visibility, public presence in the neighborhoods
  • To unite residents for a dedicated reason
  • To increase crime awareness among the citizens of the neighborhoods
  • To help make law enforcement more effective and productive
  • To provide a safe, secure environment for all neighborhood residents
  • To make a difference in your community

The Vancouver Police Department continues to build our citizen volunteer program called Neighbors On Watch, or NOW. Click here to apply today!

Current Volunteers

Visit the Volunteer Information Center to log service hours.

Files

Paws on Patrol

The Vancouver Police Department invites local dog and cat owners to sign up for its Paws on Patrol volunteer community safety program.

Paws on Patrol teaches community members how to be more aware of their surroundings while walking their pets (put that phone away) and emphasizes that people are not suspicious, but behaviors are.

Paws on Patrol also gives volunteers valuable tips on how to be a good witness and how to effectively call 911 or 311 when necessary. The program encourages people to be more present while on their walks, and to get to know their neighbors and their neighborhoods better.

Similar programs across the nation have helped police departments build stronger relationships with their community, fostered improved neighborhood camaraderie and safety, and helped increase crime prevention awareness.

No pet? No problem. Anyone who lives in the city limits of Vancouver is welcome to register, watch the training video above, and be present as you walk or jog in your neighborhood.

Sign Up Today

No pet? No problem. Anyone who lives in the city limits of Vancouver is welcome to register, watch a training video and be present as you walk or jog in your neighborhood.

Paws On Patrol

Contact Information(Required)
Address(Required)

Please read the following statements carefully and check the boxes to indicate that you agree.

Training program and video acknowledgement(Required)
Voluntary participation and actions acknowledgement

Paws on Patrol Frequently Asked Questions

How did this program start?

According to the American Pet Products Association, there are over 75 million dog owners in the United States. The National Association of Town Watch—founders of National Night Out—features a program called Dog Walker Watch in order to encourage community members who are already walking their pets to have more awareness and report suspicious activities.

This nationally recognized program inspired the Bellevue Police Department to implement a similar version called Paws on Patrol, which in turn inspired the Vancouver Police Department.

What if I do not have a pet? May I still participate?

No pet? No problem. Anyone who lives in the city limits of Vancouver is welcome to register, watch a training video and be present as you walk or jog in your neighborhood!

What happens after I register to volunteer?

After a volunteer registers, they will be emailed a welcome letter that features situational awareness tips. We distribute Paws on Patrol Pet ID tags at our Annual Paws on Patrol Park Gathering or by mail.

Volunteer hours are automatically logged at one hour per day (7 hours per week). If a volunteer would like to submit more hours, they are welcome to email jordan.macfarlane@cityofvancouver.us any hours to add to their baseline log.

Paws on Patrol volunteers will receive a quarterly newsletter from VPD featuring crime prevention tips and they are encouraged to send photographs from their walks. We will host a yearly park gathering to connect officers with volunteers.

VPD has another volunteer program called Neighbors on Watch. How is this different?

Paws on Patrol enlists community members to be present while doing an activity they would already be doing in their daily life. VPD does not conduct background checks for Paws on Patrol and volunteers do not have access to police facilities or special equipment, like Neighbors on Watch (NOW) volunteers.

Paws on Patrol volunteers will view a training video about calling 311 or 911 if they see suspicious activities while out in their neighborhood. They will also receive periodical safety tips from VPD via email communications.

NOW applicants go through a background and interview process. Successful candidates attend an 8-week academy where they learn about situational awareness, law enforcement history, CPR/First Aid, patrol and radio procedures and more. NOW volunteers receive on-going trainings and may also assist VPD with administrative support projects at police facilities.

NOW volunteers serve as the eyes and ears for VPD by conducting community patrols that help reduce crime while also helping to educate the community about situational awarness.

Current Volunteers

Visit the Volunteer Information Center to log service hours.

Prospective Volunteers

Please print the Volunteer Application and attach the required documents listed on Page 5 of the application. Return the completed application (see link at the bottom of this page) to the address noted on the application packet cover sheet. To become a NOW volunteer, applicants must:

  • Be over 21-years old
  • Live in the city limits of Vancouver
  • Have a valid driver’s license and vehicle insurance
  • Successfully pass a thorough background investigation
  • Attend a 28 hour training academy
  • Commit to volunteer at least four hours per month
  • Be willing to coordinate with other volunteers to patrol city neighborhoods