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Meet the Danville Police Department VIPS Volunteers in Police Service It’s extremely difficult these days to pick up a newspaper, watch a television news broadcast or, for that matter, have a friendly discussion without being exposed to some incident involving the police. The featured stories cover a wide range of police activities. In some articles the officers are portrayed in a favorable light—helping to protect us from crime and violence. In other pieces they’re described in a negative manner—perhaps displaying some insensitivity. It’s not my intent to either defend or condone these commentaries. I’ll leave that to professional journalists–all of whom are closer to the actual situations than I am. Rather, I’d like to tell you about my experiences with the Danville Police Department. I’ll hide behind a mythical character named Darren who pursues an “after retirement investigation” into volunteering as a VIPS (Volunteers in Police Service.) Admittedly most of these stories are mine, but using Darren’s name protects my occasionally faulty memories and forgives any enthusiastic exaggerations. “Darren”and his family moved to Danville almost five decades A L I V 22 E E A S T B A Y m a r c h 2 0 1 6 HAR R Y HUB INGE R ago. They chose Danville because it was a nice, quiet, clean, and comfortable place. The schools were good – in fact they were excellent. The shops and restaurants were numerous. Not a lot of glitz and the thought of crime of any type was far away. Life was good, and they prospered. The kids grew up, went to school, and moved away. Work slowed a bit, and retirement arrived. Ah, but now a new problem presented itself: How to fill in all those empty hours, and more important, how to repay the community for all that it had given to him and his family? And then a neighbor introduced an exciting possibility. There was a small group of residents who worked with the Danville Police Department known as VIPS (Volunteers In Police Service.) This group was formed to give a community assist to the department. Here was a way to pay back the town he respected, and it even had a little bit of excitement connected to it. But how did all of this work? The first thing he discovered was that the Danville Police


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