VHRU - Volunteer Homeland Reserve Unit, Las Vegas, Hendrson NV VHRU - Volunteer Homeland Reserve Unit, Southern Nevada
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Volunteer Homeland Reserve Unit

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A Year in Review

• In early January of 2003 the proposal of an all Volunteer Homeland Reserve Unit (VHRU) was presented to Sheriff Bill Young, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. The VHRU was accepted in concept with the understanding we would conform to certain guidelines. Assistant Sheriff Ray Flynn was appointed our contact/liaison officer as was Deputy Chief Jim White, Henderson Police department, Chief Bill Turk, Boulder City and Deputy Chief Joe Forti of the North Las Vegas Police Department who also supported the concept.

• In April, the Coordinator, Team and Squad Leaders were identified and began putting together the organizational structure of the VHRU. Meetings were held with Metro PD which resulted in some basic guidelines: no weapons will be carried, background checks will be done on all applicants, nylon mesh vests will be issued by Metro, patches, logos and caps will be the cost of the VHRU and approval was given to distribute an official Police Parking Plate for the vehicles of the VHRU members.

Our website was developed and launched in April, 2003. As part of that site, an application form was developed and now qualified individuals can join via the Internet, fax or by mail.

• In May, the first General Membership meeting was held. It was agreed to hold monthly meetings. The Core Leadership will meet prior to the scheduled monthly membership meetings to develop the agenda etc.

Also in May, presentations were made to the Chicago Police Association, NYPD, Ten 13 organization, Fraternal Order of Police and the Police and Fire Emerald Society regarding the formation of the VHRU. Donations were made by these organizations as well as by the Law Enforcement Association of Nevada to help defray the cost of equipment needed for the VHRU members. Applications for membership were distributed and sent out to all members of the Coalition of Police Organizations. (www.nevadapolicecoalition.org)

An application for Federal Funding was submitted by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department under the “Volunteers in Policing” program. Metro was later notified that these funds were given to 9 cities across America but not Las Vegas. We will continue to review Federal Grants to see if the VHRU could qualify.

Further discussions were held in May with Henderson, Boulder City and North Las Vegas Police Departments to utilize the VHRU within their jurisdiction.

• In June, meetings were held with the head of Security in the Fiesta Hotel Casino to arrange for special parking of the vehicles of VHRU members responding to Laughlin (90miles away) if activated by Metro PD. Car pooling will take place at this location.

• In August, a new Universal ID card was designed and submitted to Metro for their approval. This card has identifiers indicating all four police agencies and will be recognized as an official police ID card by those agencies. The ID card was approved by all agencies and will be produced once all the background checks are completed.

• In September, the VHRU working with Metro PD developed an action plan if the City of Las Vegas is elevated to a “Level 4 Com Ops” (Highest alert status for Metro PD) situation. Eight key Metro facilities were identified where our support would be required. Meetings were held with all eight commanders and Team and Squad Leaders to develop a working relationship and familiarize themselves with the operations of that command. Follow-up visits will be scheduled.

The September monthly meeting was held in Laughlin hosted by the Riverside Resort Hotel and Casino. Don Laughlin the owner of the Hotel and Casino, made a donation to the VHRU in support of our goals. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police managers were also present and reviewed our activation plan if we were asked to assist Metro.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in September scheduled an orientation meeting at the Police Academy This was our first Police organized meeting. The response by the VHRU was outstanding with over 100 in attendance for the three-hour session. Local TV and press covered the meeting. As a result of the TV coverage, the VHRU received an additional 25 volunteers.

• October was a busy month of meetings with the other three police agencies, Henderson, North Las Vegas and Boulder City. Liability issues were resolved to cover the members of the VHRU if activated in any of the four police jurisdictions. Activation plans were drafted for those agencies.

A mentoring program was designed working with the Henderson Police Department. Volunteers will be able to ride-a-long with uniform officers on patrol. In addition, the program will be expanded to the Police Academy where qualified members of the VHRU can address the recruits. Other ideas are under discussion.

• In November, we had a planned mock exercise with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit. Metro requested 65 Volunteers for this exercise and 67 members responded. The event lasted three hours where canvassing was done, house-to-house in search of an elderly missing person. The exercise was completed successfully with the person being found. This was a good training exercise to help the VHRU members understand the police policies and procedures. Other exercises will be forthcoming with the three other police agencies.

Meetings were held with the City of Henderson Emergency Management as well as the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s Emergency Management Unit to establish procedures if there is a need for our assistance.

• In December, Henderson Police Department has agreed to produce the Universal ID card. Images of our members have been given to them in the hope of having our ID cards ready in January 2004.

Also in December, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department submitted a request for funding to the State of Nevada under the “Citizens Corps” program. The VHRU submitted its requirements for basic equipment and funding. This application is pending.

• The year 2003 ended with the membership of the VHRU at 153 volunteers from 56 different police agencies. The VHRU is looking for a very successful 2004 by adding additional former law enforcement officers to the group.

Ted Farace, Coordinator

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