University of California Santa Cruz Police Department
UC Santa Cruz PD Policy Manual



Volunteer Program


It is the policy of this department to use qualified volunteers for specified tasks and duties in order to create efficiencies for the Department and improve services to the community. Volunteers are intended to supplement and support, rather than supplant, sworn officers and civilian personnel. Volunteers can be an important part of any organization and are proven to be a valuable asset to law enforcement agencies. Volunteers help to increase departmental responsiveness, delivery of services and information input, and provide new program opportunities. In addition, volunteers bring new skills and expertise to the Department and prompt new enthusiasm.


An individual who performs a service for the Department without promise, expectation or receipt of compensation for services rendered. This may include unpaid chaplains, unpaid reserve officers, interns, persons providing administrative support and youth involved in a law enforcement Explorer Post, among others.




The Volunteer Coordinator shall be appointed by the Administration Division Commander. The function of the Volunteer Coordinator is to provide a central coordinating point for effective volunteer management within the Department, and to direct and assist staff and volunteer efforts to jointly provide more productive services. The Volunteer Coordinator should work with other Department staff on an ongoing basis to assist in the development and implementation of volunteer-staffed positions.

The Volunteer Coordinator, or his/her designee, shall be responsible for the following:

 (a) Recruiting, selecting and training qualified volunteers for various positions.

 (b) Facilitating the implementation of new volunteer activities and assignments.

 (c) Maintaining records for each volunteer.

 (d) Tracking and evaluating the contribution of volunteers.

 (e) Maintaining the volunteer handbook and outlining expectations, policies and responsibilities for all volunteers.

 (f) Maintaining a record of volunteer schedules and work hours.

 (g) Completion and dissemination as appropriate of all necessary paperwork and information.

 (h) Planning periodic recognition events.

 (i) Administering discipline when warranted.

 (j) Maintaining liaison with other volunteer-utilizing programs in the community and assisting in community-wide efforts to recognize and promote volunteering.


Volunteers should be recruited on a continuous and ongoing basis consistent with department policy on equal opportunity nondiscriminatory employment. A primary qualification for participation in the application process should be an interest in, and an ability to assist the Department in serving the public.

Requests for volunteers should be submitted in writing by interested staff to the Volunteer Coordinator through the requester's immediate supervisor. A complete position description and a requested time-frame should be included in the request. All parties should understand that the recruitment of volunteers is enhanced by creative and interesting assignments. The Volunteer Coordinator may withhold assignment of any volunteer until such time as the requesting unit is prepared to make effective use of volunteer resources.


All prospective volunteers should complete the volunteer application form. The Volunteer Coordinator or designee should conduct a face-to-face interview with an applicant under consideration.

A documented background investigation shall be completed on each volunteer applicant and shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:

 (a) Traffic and criminal background check. Fingerprints shall be obtained from all applicants and processed through the California Criminal Information Index.

 (b) Employment

 (c) References

 (d) Credit check

A polygraph exam may be required of each applicant depending on the type of assignment.


Service as a volunteer with the Department shall begin with an official notice of acceptance or appointment to a volunteer position. Notice may only be given by an authorized representative of the Department, who will normally be the Volunteer Coordinator. No volunteer should begin any assignment until they have been officially accepted for that position and completed all required screening and paperwork. At the time of final acceptance, each volunteer should complete all required enrollment paperwork and will receive a copy of their position description and agreement of service with the Department. All volunteers shall receive a copy of the volunteer handbook and shall be required to sign a volunteer agreement.

Volunteers should be placed only in assignments or programs that are consistent with their knowledge, skills, abilities and the needs of the Department. 

385.2.5 TRAINING

Volunteers will be provided with an orientation program to acquaint them with the Department, personnel, policies and procedures that have a direct impact on their work assignment.

Volunteers should receive position-specific training to ensure they have adequate knowledge and skills to complete tasks required by the position and should receive periodic ongoing training as deemed appropriate by their supervisor or the Volunteer Coordinator.

Training should reinforce to volunteers that they may not intentionally represent themselves as, or by omission infer that they are sworn officers or other full-time members of the Department. They shall always represent themselves as volunteers.

All volunteers shall comply with the rules of conduct and with all orders and directives, either oral or written, issued by the Department.


No volunteer shall report to work or be on-duty when his/her judgment or physical condition has been impaired by alcohol, medication, other substances, illness or injury.

Volunteers shall report to their supervisor any changes in status that may affect their ability to fulfill their duties. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

 (a) Driver license

 (b) Medical condition

 (c) Arrests

 (d) Criminal investigations

All volunteers shall adhere to the guidelines set forth by this department regarding drug and alcohol use.

385.2.7 DRESS CODE

As representatives of the Department, volunteers are responsible for presenting a professional image to the community. Volunteers shall dress appropriately for the conditions and performance of their duties.

Volunteers shall conform to department-approved dress consistent with their duty assignment. Uniforms authorized for volunteers should be readily distinguishable from those worn by sworn officers. The uniform or identifiable parts of the uniform shall not be worn while off-duty except volunteers may choose to wear the uniform while in transit to or from official department assignments or functions provided an outer garment is worn over the uniform shirt so as not to bring attention to the volunteer while he/she is off duty.

Volunteers shall be required to return any issued uniform or department property at the termination of service.



Each volunteer who is accepted to a position with the Department must have a clearly identified supervisor who is responsible for direct management of that volunteer. This supervisor will be responsible for day-to-day management and guidance of the work of the volunteer and should be available to the volunteer for consultation and assistance.

A volunteer may be assigned as and act as a supervisor of other volunteers provided that the supervising volunteer is under the direct supervision of a paid staff member.

Functional supervision of volunteers is the responsibility of the supervisor in charge of the unit where the volunteer is assigned. Following are some considerations to keep in mind while supervising volunteers:

 (a) Take the time to introduce volunteers to employees on all levels.

 (b) Ensure volunteers have work space and necessary office supplies.

 (c) Make sure the work is Do not hesitate to give them an assignment or task that will tap these valuable resources.



With appropriate security clearance, volunteers may have access to confidential information such as criminal histories or  investigative  files.  Unless  otherwise  directed  by  a supervisor or departmental policy, all information shall be considered confidential. Only that information specifically identified and approved by authorized personnel shall be released. Confidential information shall be given only to persons who have a need and a right to know as determined by departmental policy and supervisory personnel.

Each volunteer will be required to sign a nondisclosure agreement before being given an assignment with the Department. Subsequent unauthorized disclosure of any confidential information, verbally, in writing or by any other means, by the volunteer is grounds for immediate dismissal and possible criminal prosecution.

Volunteers shall not address public gatherings, appear on radio or television, prepare any article for publication, act as correspondents to a newspaper or other periodical, release or divulge  any information concerning the activities of the Department, or maintain that they represent the Department in such matters without permission from the proper department personnel.



Volunteers will be issued an identification card that must be worn at all times while on-duty. Any fixed and portable equipment issued by the Department shall be for official and authorized use only. Any property or equipment issued to a volunteer shall remain the property of the Department and shall be returned at the termination of service.


Volunteers assigned to duties such as vacation house checks or other assignments that require the use of a vehicle must first complete the following:

 (a) A driving safety briefing and department approved driver safety course.

 (b) Verification that the volunteer possesses a valid California Driver License.

 (c) Verification that the volunteer carries current vehicle insurance.

The Volunteer Coordinator should insure that all volunteers receive safety briefing updates and license and insurance verification at least once a year.

When operating a Department vehicle, volunteers shall obey all rules of the road, including seat belt requirements. Smoking is prohibited in all Department vehicles.

Volunteers should not operate a marked patrol car unless there is a prominently placed sign indicating that it is out of service and are not authorized to operate a Department vehicle Code-3.


Volunteers shall successfully complete CLETS and radio procedures training prior to using the police radio or MDC and comply with all related provisions. The Volunteer Coordinator should ensure that radio and CLETS training is provided for volunteers whenever necessary.



A volunteer may be removed from the volunteer program at the discretion of the Chief of Police or the Volunteer Coordinator. Volunteers shall have no property interests in their continued appointment. However, if a volunteer is removed for alleged misconduct, the volunteer will be afforded an opportunity solely to clear his/her name through a liberty interest hearing which shall be limited to a single appearance before the Chief of Police or authorized designee.

Volunteers may resign from volunteer service with the Department at any time. It is requested that volunteers who intend to resign provide advance notice of their departure and a reason for their decision.



Exit interviews, where possible, should be conducted with volunteers who are leaving their positions. The interview should ascertain why the volunteer is leaving the position and solicit the volunteer's suggestions on improving the position. When appropriate, the interview should also include a discussion on the possibility of involvement in some other capacity with the Department.



An evaluation of the overall volunteer program will be conducted on an annual basis by the Volunteer Coordinator. Regular evaluations should be conducted with volunteers to ensure the best use of human resources available, to ensure personnel problems can be identified and dealt with promptly and fairly, and to ensure optimum satisfaction on the part of volunteers.




Policy 385 PDF