Volunteers step up for LAPD

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Program > Budget crunch calls for creative solutions

By Tris DeRoma

If you’re interested in the way law enforcement works or perhaps taking part in your community in a meaningful way, the Los Alamos Police Department may have just the job you’re looking for.


The LAPD has restarted its volunteer staffing program and there are numerous positions available, including neighborhood watch, prisoner meal prep, fingerprinting and records management.

Recently, residents interested in the volunteer program attended a meeting hosted by LAPD Chief Wayne Torpy and Cmdr. Randy Foster.

“Thank you for at least coming to listen to us and we would appreciate any involvement you would like to have with us,” Torpy told the volunteers who attended.

Torpy said the program came about as a way to solve a number of fiscal and logistical obstacles the department had been experiencing lately.

“We’ve been looking at ways to take duties paid employees had been doing within the police department and lessen that amount of work they have to do, or eliminate it completely,” Torpy said.

He said his department would be grateful for whatever number of volunteers they could get to help out.

“Let’s face it, the jail is a 24-hour, seven-day a week operation, so we’ll never have enough to staff that. But, if we can get just one day of relief, that’s better than nothing,” he said.

“The real focus that we’re trying to achieve is making sure we get the best bang for our buck out of our employees. Even though I have detention officers working in the jail preparing meals, that’s not necessarily the mandatory function of a detention officer. It’s a job that can be done by a civilian —as long as we give them the proper training.”

Torpy believes the program will ultimately save the taxpayers money, as well as add a level of transparency to the department that the public should appreciate.

“Through the program, we really hope to educate the community as to what really goes on here and to some of the challenges that we face,” Torpy said. “It’s not really about how much money we could save, as much as it is how many hours we could capture for other duties. Will there ever be a good dollar value captured? Maybe not, but there will certainly be a more efficient use of our personnel.”

Eight people showed up for the introductory meeting to learn about the program, ages ranging from early teens to the elderly.

Veronica Lai, 13, seemed interested in what the program is all about.

“I’ve always had an interest in science and forensics, so, why not?” she said.

Foster said the police department had a similar program in the past and hopes this one is just as successful.

“From the interest and talks we’ve had with the volunteers, people seemed to be interested in all the areas we talked about, as well as in addition to some others we didn’t,” he said. “So I hope to get the program off the ground, get it running and hopefully expand it in the future.”

To learn more about the program, call 662-8222 or email Foster at randy.foster@lacnm.us.