Corporal Kevin Kelley, leader of the Dallas Police Department Northeast Division’s Volunteer in Patrol (VIP) Program, reached an important milestone last year. He recruited the program’s 1000th neighborhood crime watch volunteer, and he has continued to build the VIPs in the months since then. Dallas VIPs logged more than 31,000 hours of patrol in 2018, and each month the program grows.
On Wednesday, Kelley invited VIP area coordinators to swing by the station for a lunchtime treat. Fresh, hot pizzas, made by the Urban Crust food truck, were on him.
“The volunteers do this out of their own time,” explained Kelley. “They just want to take care of their community. You can’t ask for better people than these volunteers – they have the best spirits. They do so much for us here at the Dallas Police Department, especially here at the Northeast where we’ve got the biggest program. Over the years they’ve become like family to me. They always ask, ‘What can we do for y’all,’ so I felt like, in these trying times, we wanted to let them know that we appreciate them for helping us fight crime. Because crime never stops, despite what is going on. We need them for this battle. We need to show them how much we are appreciative.”
DPD Deputy Chief Bill Griffith and Major Roberto Arredondo were on hand to personally thank the volunteers and deliver the pizzas. For the day, Lake Highlands-owned Urban Crust renamed their famous “Black and Blue” pie, with wood-fired sirloin, caramelized onions and blue cheese, to “Back the Blue.”
The show of support made an impression on Sharron and Lennard Pierson, who patrol Northwood Estates near Royal Oaks Country Club.
“We don’t want to be burglarized,” Lennard said bluntly about the many hours the couple spend patrolling their neighborhood. “We’re retired, and it’s a way to give back to the community. We drive and walk around during the day, mostly looking for broken doors or windows. We go to Orbiter Park and check for people doing drugs or having sex. We report high weeds to 3-1-1. We watch for packages left on porches and knock on doors, because we’ve had a wave of thefts.”
The efforts of VIP members like the Piersons, Kelley said, have an impact on crime – and property values – in the neighborhood.
“These people live here. They know who belongs and who doesn’t belong in the community. Without them, we couldn’t do this. They know this and we know this. It’s an interworking relationship, and there’s no way to police anything without having community support.”
If you’re interested in attending a training class to become at VIP, contact Kevin Kelley at 214-670-7772 or firstname.lastname@example.org. There might even be a pizza in it for you.