The Coeur d’Alene Police Department (CDAPD) Citizens on Patrol (COPS) Program, established in 2008 to enhance the relationship between the citizens of Coeur d’Alene and the CDAPD continues to be a success. Modeled after academies in Spokane, Kootenai County, and Post Falls, it is tailored to meet the needs of the CDAPD and is free to the public. Annual COPS training academies enable citizens of Coeur d’Alene to assist the Police Department with duties and services.
In 2011, there were 12 active members in the COPS program and they recorded some pretty impressive statistics. One of their assignments is to keep parking issues from becoming problems. They issued a total of 1,296 parking citations, logged 2,392 hours of patrol time, and handled a total of 1,093 abandoned vehicle calls. In all, they brought in approximately $19,440.00 in revenue to the City of Coeur d’Alene in 2011.
Chief Wayne Longo is a big supporter of the program. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for our citizens to assist law enforcement in the protection and safeguarding of their city by becoming a member of COPS,” he said. “I firmly believe that my officers and the COPS volunteers will be able to provide an increased level of protection to our community.” Longo added that, “It is our hope that this program continues to grow and provide continued service to our city.”
Each volunteer receives up to 40 hours of instruction during the COPS Academy. These training sessions are designed to inform and educate citizens about how the CDAPD operates. It also helps them to gain an understanding of the challenges which face law enforcement in the rapidly growing Coeur d’Alene community. Furthermore, the COPS Academy provides an opportunity for open discussions, and participants are encouraged to share their comments and ideas regarding possible solutions to the challenges facing the city.
Each COPS Academy applicant must be at least 21 years of age and have no misdemeanor conviction in the past year. Once they’ve completed training, COPS members patrol the Coeur d’Alene community in specially-marked COPS vehicles. COPS graduates do not have law enforcement powers and will not be armed. They will carry radios and wear a volunteer uniform.
COPS graduates assist the CDAPD with security checks, traffic control, and provide additional staffing at special community events (e.g., parades, firework displays, school events, etc.). Other duties include: MULE patrol of the Centennial Trail, radar patrol and issuing warning letters, and checking on handicapped parking violations and abandoned vehicles.
Our COPS Volunteers also patrol parts of the Centennial Trail and Prairie Trail in the summer in a utility vehicle identified as a police unit. They look for stranded or injured bicyclists, or any suspicious activity on the trails. For more information about the COPS program, please call 769-2320.