PUEBLO — There are an abundance of places to volunteer in Pueblo, but one unique organization is "meant to be an interface between the officers and the public" says the coordinator.
Volunteers Assisting Pueblo Police (VAPP) consists of a group of people who offer their free time to help the Pueblo Police Department with anything they may need, such as administrative work or role playing for training scenarios.
"It’s the only time I can break the law and get away with it!” said Kristy Smith. She has been a part of VAPP for the last four years. The program is currently made up of almost 40 members.
“I saw an ad in the newspaper and thought… What a great way to give back to the community… and the Pueblo Police Department!” said Smith, when explaining how she got involved with VAPP in the first place.
According to VAPP's website, their current list of assignments include:
- Handicap Parking Enforcement
- Parade and community event assistance
- Training scenario actors
- Neighborhood Watch assistance
- Various PPD division assistance (SVU, cold cases, training, etc.)
- Various types of Data Entry
- Maintaining supplies
"My favorite part is doing role plays. We do role play for the SWAT team and our Police Academy!” said Smith.
However, Volunteer Coordinator Stuart Bastin says the impact VAPP has in Pueblo goes beyond the police department.
“We had one lady that went through the program and she was very skeptical of law enforcement. She was intimidated by them... And the more she’s gotten to know them and interact with them… She’s formed some life long friendships now!’
Anyone over the age of 18 is eligible to apply to become part of VAPP.