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Volunteers contribute an invaluable service to ASU Police Department


May 18, 2011

The ASU Police Department Volunteer Program offers students, staff and members of the public the opportunity to give back to their community while learning valuable skills in the process.

“We provide good resume building opportunities for students, especially those who are going into areas such as criminal justice and social work,” said Jay Spradling, ASU Assistant Police Chief.

Volunteer Robert Brems helps the department with information technology issues such as developing a back-up radio system and maintaining equipment in the Emergency Operations Center.

“I work hard to make sure that it is able to be activated and fully operational at a moment’s notice,” Brems said.

Brems is gaining experience that will serve him as he pursues his goal to become a federal law-enforcement officer.

“I decided that volunteering would be an excellent way of learning about the law enforcement community. The ASU Police Department has been a wonderful organization to work with, and they have made me feel that I am truly part of something bigger,” Brems said. He recently was offered and accepted a position in the department as a police aide.

University police volunteers are often transitory since students typically work for the police force for a few years, then graduate from ASU and start their careers.

“They tend to come, stay a year or two and then they are gone,” said Doris Cornett, ASU Police Department Volunteer Coordinator.

Cornett, a volunteer for 22 years at the Tempe Police Department, was asked by Spradling to start the program at ASU in 2009. She became involved in police work when she was a school principal and one of her faculty members died. The way that it was handled bothered her, so she went to Tempe Police and was instrumental in starting a victim’s assistance program.  That program evolved into the nationally known Care 7 program.

A similar program to aid victims at ASU has been in the works for a more than a year.  However, the volunteers who were developing the program moved on to other work opportunities and it has since stalled. Spradling would like to see this area become a priority again and he’s interested in hearing from people who are interested in getting social work or counseling experience.

The department has many interesting volunteer opportunities in a variety of assignments throughout the police department.  “We have jobs that relate to just about any course work; business, technology, media relations, social work, criminal justice and communications to name a few,” Spradling said.

"We certainly would be interested in talking to anyone wishing to volunteer with us,” he said. For student volunteers, the department makes an effort to find work that they are interested in and relate to their majors.    

“We try to match individuals with jobs,” Cornett said.  Areas that are open to volunteer include almost every department from records to dispatch and from information technology to victim’s assistance.

“Due to some staffing shortages in our Communications section, volunteers are currently helping us by filling in shifts answering phones with our dispatchers,” Spradling said.

Gabriel Rojel is one such volunteer helping to answer calls as a volunteer dispatcher. He is an ASU student studying criminal justice and psychology with career plans of becoming a police officer.

“It’s really awesome to know that I am actively working with the public and making a difference in people's lives,” he said.

Volunteering is also a way for people to contribute to society.

“I enjoy the satisfaction that comes from giving back to the community,” Brems said. “The volunteer program has great leadership, and they go out of their way to make the volunteers feel that they are a respected part of their organization.”

Volunteer opportunities are open to members of the ASU community and other citizens who would like to become involved. Candidates go through a background check and a polygraph test before they begin working for the department.

“That way there is some inherent trust the day they walk in the door,” Spradling said.

People who are interested in volunteering can fill out an application at http://cfo.asu.edu/police-VIPS or send an email to asupdvolunteers@asu.edu. Questions may be addressed to Claudia Salas at (480) 965-0771 or Volunteer Coordinator Doris Cornett  at (480) 965-1375.