In the 21st century, the demands on law enforcement are numerous and varied. Agencies struggle to protect their communities from the threat of global terrorism and also face increasingly sophisticated challenges from computer and cybercrimes, narcotics trafficking, identity theft, and other crimes. These efforts take place against a backdrop of shrinking budgets and limited resources.

Yet, one thing law enforcement agencies can do to leverage existing resources and at the same time enhance public safety is engage volunteers. Volunteer programs allow agencies and officers to focus on policing and enforcement functions by providing supplemental and support services. At the same time, such programs create valuable ties between law enforcement and the community.

The following are some of the many benefits police volunteers can offer:

Volunteers participate in activities ...

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