Citizens On Patrol
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has developed an innovative volunteer program in 2004 to include community members in crime reduction and community improvement. The
Citizens on Patrol
program is a unique opportunity for citizens to actively assist police officers by relieving some of their workload. There are two classifications within the unit which are Road Patrol and Lake Patrol. Citizens on patrol volunteers wear distinctive uniforms and drive specially marked vehicles. Citizens on Patrol volunteers do not carry weapons nor do they have powers of arrest.
In two-member teams, C.O.P. volunteers are assigned to one of four Patrol Divisions (North
) for their shift. The team performs a number of duties during their patrol including checking for abandoned vehicles and graffiti as well as visiting businesses and residential locations to enforce handicapped and fire lane parking violations. C.O.P. volunteers also patrol parks, schools, businesses, hotels, and residential neighborhoods. Patrol duties include observing and reporting any unusual or suspicious activities to CMPD officers. While on patrol, volunteers can pick up found property, direct traffic at vehicle collisions, and assist disabled motorists.
These special volunteers provide a deterrent to crime and a feeling of security for citizens and visitors by remaining highly visible in the community. Citizens on Patrol do not carry weapons or have powers of arrest. They wear special uniforms and drive vehicles issued by the CMPD so they are easily recognized.
The Citizens on Patrol Lake Patrol volunteers are an extension of our Citizens on Patrol Road Patrol. Patrolling local lakes in specially marked CMPD Volunteer Patrol Vessels volunteers are tasked with the responsibility of promoting water and boating safety and to help prevent crime on our lakes and waterway. Volunteers are assigned to Lake Wylie, Lake Norman and Mt. Island Lake.
Citing Handicapped Parking and Fire Lane Violators
Citizens on Patrol volunteers educate the public on the need for reserving parking spaces for individuals with disabilities as well as ensure fire lanes remain available for emergency vehicles. C.O.P.s are empowered to issue citations when vehicles parked in handicapped spaces do not properly display a handicapped parking permit or when vehicles are illegally parked in a designated fire lane.
Vacation Home Checks and Welfare Checks
Charlotte residents residing within the North, University, or Steele Creek Patrol Divisions, who plan to be away from their home for a period of up to on week, can request a house check by calling the Citizens on Patrol Coordinator at 704-336-5511. C.O.P. volunteers will check for:
- Obvious signs of trouble.
- Anything unusual or suspicious, which will be reported to dispatch.
- Newspapers and mail, which will be retrieved and stored in a previously agreed-upon location.
- Signs of a disturbance or forcible entry.
- Open doors or windows.
Individuals who have elderly family living in the North, University, or Steele Creek Patrol Divisions can also request a Welfare Check by contacting the C.O.P. Coordinator. The volunteers will check for:
- Obvious signs of trouble or suspicious activity.
- Adequate living conditions, including proper amount of food and necessary medication.
- Safety hazards in and around the home.
Citizens on Patrol volunteers are assigned to specific locations throughout their Patrol Divisions as a result of citizen complaints received regarding vehicles exceeding the posted speed limit. They deploy a Mobile Radar Unit to monitor and display the speed of vehicles at that location, which encourages drivers to exercise caution by adhering to the posted speed limit.
Citizens on Patrol are often called upon to perform special duties including:
- Assisting Officers with traffic direction at Carolina Panthers games.
- Assisting with special events such as conferences, golf tournaments, and charity races.
- Participating in local community meetings and outreach events.
Each Citizens on Patrol volunteer must attend approximately 80 hours of Citizens on Patrol Training which includes:
- Familiarization with CMPD procedures and equipment.
- Traffic direction and driver training.
- Participation in ride-alongs with current Citizens on Patrol to observe duty performance.
- CPR, conflict resolution, and crowd control.
In addition, Citizens on Patrol volunteers will complete the
CMPD's Citizens Academy
. Both training sessions are vital to the success of the program as each imparts fundamental knowledge of CMPD volunteer policy and practice.
Anyone interested in becoming a Citizens on Patrol volunteer must:
- Be at least 21 years of age.
- Possess a valid NC or SC driver's license.
- Must have no more than 8 drivers license points.
- Submit to a reference check and criminal records check.
- Submit to fingerprinting, a polygraph examination, drug test, and an interview.
- Must be willing to commit to at least one patrol per week.
If you would like to support the CMPD and serve your community, please complete and submit the online interest form.
For more information about the Citizens on Patrol Program, contact:
CMPD Volunteer Unit
601 E. Trade Street Charlotte, NC 28202
704-432-0430 (office) | 704-336-5712 (fax)