Civilians assist Cheney Police

Volunteers in Policing help with non-emergency tasks

By Libby Campbell, Senior Reporter

Photo by: Jade RaymondCheney Police Department (Volunteers in Policing vehicle)
Photo by: Jade Raymond
Cheney Police Department (Volunteers in Policing vehicle)



The Cheney Police Department has a long history of volunteer involvement, from volunteer police officers to a volunteer chaplain corps.

That list has grown even longer with the addition of the Volunteers in Policing program.

The Cheney Police Department started looking at creating a program to better serve the community in 2011, according to Commander Rick Campbell.

“While a number of our needs were being met, the way we wanted to reach out to the community was not being met the way we had hoped,” Campbell said.

Cheney and EWU are already covered by a branch of Spokane’s Sheriff Community Oriented Policing Effort, also known as SCOPE. Volunteers with SCOPE work to provide a safe living environment, and the program believes that law enforcement and citizens can work together as a team to promote safety and prevent crime, according to its website.

“A couple of the volunteers with SCOPE came to us and said that they wanted to be volunteers solely focused on Cheney issues, and that their primary focus was that they wanted to help us design a program,” Campbell said.

They spent 2012 building the foundation for the basis of the program, and in January the program really got up and running.

The program currently has six members, most of whom are senior citizens.

Typical tasks include writing parking tickets, impounding abandoned vehicles, fingerprinting clients, writing minor crime reports, performing traffic control duties and delivering paperwork to prosecuting attorneys.

“There are a myriad of administrative tasks that need to be done on a daily and weekly basis to keep a police department running. Not all of those tasks need to be accomplished by a commissioned policeman,” Campbell said. “My goal is to keep the officers out on the street where they can do the most good as often as possible.”

Volunteers can eventually be trained to take minor incident reports, maintain the property and evidence room and dust crime scenes for fingerprints.

The program currently has vacancies. Those who are interested can visit, fill out an employment application and turn it in at the Cheney Police Department.

There are no age restrictions, but Volunteers in Policing members must be able to pass a law enforcement background check.

“You can’t have felony convictions, you have to have a clean driver’s record, no moral turpitude violations, that kind of stuff,” Campbell said.

Job-specific training is available to volunteers based upon which sort of tasks they are interested in tackling.

Campbell called the Volunteers in Policing program a “win-win.”

“The city gets the benefit of the extra administrative work,” he said. “Some of the tasks that sometimes can slip to the bottom of the pile just by call volume now can get some attention, and the people who are volunteering for us have an opportunity to give back to the community in a meaningful way.”