Citizens On Patrol Program
Irving Citizens on Patrol (ICOP) is a joint program between the Irving Police Department and volunteer citizens, and it is an extension of the department's Neighborhood Watch Program. The program is designed to educate interested individuals to problems unique to their neighborhoods and the City of Irving, and to assist in developing a community patrol group.
Members are taught to recognize suspicious or criminal activity and assist the police by actively patrolling their neighborhoods and reporting such activities. ICOP members are only observers/reporters and do not become physically involved or place themselves in dangerous situations.
Training and Certification
The first class graduated from training in October 1994 and began neighborhood patrols. In November 1997, members of the ICOP program received additional training and certification to begin issuing Disabled Parking Citations to violators. Strict guidelines set forth by the State Transportation Code were followed, and the Irving City Council authorized Chief Cannaday to appoint this group of trained volunteers to help enforce this widely abused statute.
An initial group of six ICOPs was trained to write citations and in the first month just under 100 citations were issued. Subsequently, the remaining members of the ICOP program have been trained and are authorized to write handicapped parking violation citations. This program continues to be a successful part of the police department's enforcement efforts.
Additional duties that have been added to the group include traffic surveys, traffic diversion, hotel surveillance and waiting for wreckers, thereby allowing officers to return to service. To date, seven decommissioned police cars have been re-lettered and given to the ICOPs for use in their patrol activities.
Blue Report Card
Another duty that has been successful is the "Blue Report Card" program. This allows an ICOP to observe a parked vehicle for potential problems that could lead to vehicle burglary or theft. A "report card" is then left on the vehicle to inform the vehicle operator of any potential problems or if the vehicle was deemed "safe" at that time.
In 2004, the ICOP program issued zero blue "report cards," 260 handicap citations and volunteers averaged 177 hours and 1,384 miles per month. This equates to an annual total of $15,629 worth of donated time and mileage and $65,000 of revenue from citations.
By comparison, in 2008 the ICOP program issued 14,600+ blue "report cards," 324 citations and volunteers averaged 575 hours and 3,900 miles per month. This equates to an annual total of $55,337 of donated time and mileage and $81,000 of revenue from citations.
Participants of the ICOP program must be graduates of the Irving Citizen Police Academy and then selected to complete additional training, which consists of four sessions, each with three hours of instruction. The classes are not to train citizens to be police officers but rather to promote an increased awareness by citizens of the presence of common criminal activity, to enhance their recognition of criminal opportunity and provide an understanding of when, how and why to report these.
All citizens who possess a valid Texas driver's license and current insurance, meet entrance requirements and have the desire to actively contribute to the program are eligible to participate.