Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol program provides invaluable community policing support

As the acting captain for the San Diego Police Department’s Northwestern Division, it is a significant challenge to effectively police the large and ever-growing area that is our jurisdiction. An often overlooked but critical aspect of crime fighting and quality of life concerns is that of “shared responsibility.” In a broad context, this means that we, in law enforcement, can’t fight crime alone. We need help from our community. If you see something, hear something, or know something, please contact us.

The City of San Diego values and actively supports community policing programs. In addition to helping fight crime, these programs establish a rapport and build trust among the residents of the numerous diverse and vibrant neighborhoods that make up America’s Finest City. Capitalizing on the idea of “shared responsibility,” the San Diego Police Department made a wise decision in 1992 to utilize groups of trained volunteers to augment community policing efforts. San Diego’s Volunteers In Policing Program is one of the largest in the nation with 300-plus active members contributing over 9,000 service hours per month. One of the most visible groups in the community is known as the Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol or R.S.V.P.

With minimum staffing of only four patrol officers per shift, SDPD’s Northwestern Division is fortunate to be augmented by a strong group of R.S.V.P.’s that provide a wealth of volunteer hours, talent, and life-experiences. Their educational backgrounds span a variety of alma maters, including the Ivy League, and each has excelled in “Real Life.” Many R.S.V.P.’s have had successful careers in business, education, the military, as homemakers, and law enforcement … the list goes on. I’m constantly impressed by the acumen and excellent service these men and women bring to our command and their desire to “give back” to the community.

Northwestern’s R.S.V.P.’s perform a variety of important duties for the San Diego Police Department. First and foremost, they help police our community in marked patrol vehicles, providing additional sets of “eyes and ears.” R.S.V.P.’s also conduct pre-arranged checks on vacation houses and those tented for fumigation; deliver important documents throughout the city; assist with traffic control at accident and road hazard scenes; scan for stolen vehicles using license-plate-reader technology; and enforce parking violations. In the past year, this means the following for residents of Carmel Valley:

· Logged 5,000-plus patrol hours covering neighborhoods, schools, banks, parks, churches, and homeland security targets.

· Assisted hundreds of motorists involved in vehicle collisions, some with life-threatening injuries.

· Performed 1,000-plus vacation/fumigation house checks. Many times R.S.V.P. has been the first to identify issues such as burglaries, water/gas leaks, and flooded yards due to blocked drains.

· Assisted detectives in locating stolen vehicles and with other special assignments.

· Issued 425-plus parking citations, focusing primarily on handicapped parking violations.

Additionally, one of the most unique and rewarding duties performed by R.S.V.P.’s is the YANA Program. YANA stands for You Are Not Alone. This is a free service that provides contact, and necessary referrals, for the elderly who live alone in our community. R.S.V.P.’s also assist Northwestern’s Investigations Unit with locating video cameras in areas where a crime has been committed. Video footage and photos are invaluable tools for detectives and patrol officers in their efforts to identify and capture suspects.

R.S.V.P. volunteers generally patrol 3-5 days per month and attend a monthly in-service training meeting. Meeting topics cover crime statistics and procedural issues and there is always time for questions and open discussion. The monthly in-service meeting is always followed by a catered luncheon that further serves to bond the members of the R.S.V.P. Team together.

The San Diego Police Department’s Northwestern Division is extremely fortunate to partner with the outstanding volunteers that make up our R.S.V.P. Team. It’s impossible to say which I appreciate more, the exemplary and invaluable work the R.S.V.P.’s do for our community or the opportunities I’ve personally had to get to know some of the most gracious and giving people one could ever meet. Northwestern’s R.S.V.P.’s truly understand and personify the idea of “shared responsibility”.

On behalf of the officers assigned to the San Diego Police Department’s Northwestern Division, it is our honor to protect and serve the residents of Carmel Valley. Together we can fight crime and address quality of life concerns that impact our community. General questions or concerns may be directed to Northwestern’s Community Relations Officer, Trevor Philips, at (858) 523-7031 or by email at: ttphilips@pd.sandiego.gov.

For those interested in learning more about the San Diego Police Department Northwestern Division’s R.S.V.P. Program, please contact the R.S.V.P. Office at: (858) 523-7021. You are also welcome to email R.S.V.P Captain Steve Eisold at: seisold@pd.sandiego.gov or R.S.V.P Lieutenant Armand Olvera at: aolvera@pd.sandiego.gov. R.S.V.P. is not all “work” and no play! Participation on this team is a great opportunity to talk one-on-one with officers, detectives and command staff; attend gatherings and holiday celebrations; make lasting friendships; and win awards such as the Presidential Award for 500-plus hours of service or R.S.V.P. of the Year! Join us today and help make a positive difference in our community!

Philip Phillips,

Acting Captain SDPD

Northwest Division

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