For the past twelve years, the Waco Police Department has been supported by an active group of volunteers from the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association (CPAAA). Since January of 2003, this group has volunteered 6,412 hours in direct and indirect support of the Police Department’s community policing programs.
One of the major focuses of the CPAAA is raising funds throughout the year in support of the Citizens Police Academy, Waco Police Department, and local police officers. In 2003, the CPAAA provided over $7,400 to the Department for the purchase of equipment and training of police officers. The equipment purchased ranged from a Rescue Randy training dummy to child fingerprint/ID kits. Funds were donated to the Police Memorial Run, Crime Stoppers Pig Trot, and the Blue Santa program, as well as to provide officer training in topics such as criminal profiling and hostage negotiation. The Association also donated $1,000 to the McLennan Community College scholarship fund for students enrolled in the College’s Criminal Justice program.
Members of the Association also directly support the Department by providing manpower during special events and projects throughout the year. Members regularly assist with crowd management and traffic control during the 4th of July and Cruise-Fest USA celebrations, help with the day-long civil service testing of police recruits, provide crowd management for the Police Memorial Run. Last year, the Association helped distribute over 1,000 “goody bags” at the Halloween event held at a local mall. This year Association members began assisting with the Police Department’s telephone “warrants call” program. To-date, over 150 persons with outstanding warrants has been contacted through this program. This spring, Association members provided security/courtesy patrols at the 2004 international Viking Fest, which was held in Waco for the first time. CPAAA members also work as scribes at the quarterly child safety seat checks sponsored by the Police Department and Safe Kids Coalition. Twenty-nine of the Association’s members are part of the Police Department’s emergency response volunteer teams which are used to search for missing children and adults. Members also augment officers during natural and manmade disasters.
The Waco CPAAA program is one of about 900 such programs throughout the country that is registered with the President’s Volunteer in Police Service program (VIPS). The Association is also registered as a “certifying organization” for the President’s Volunteer Service Award program, which began in 2003. Ten members of the VIPS program are also CERT qualified – and were the first to be qualified in the city.
Members of the CPAAA truly embody the spirit of volunteerism by putting their commitment to building a better community into one of involvement and action.