Palm Desert’s Citizens on Patrol (COPS) is a group of citizen volunteers that serves as the eyes and ears of the City and the Palm Desert Police Department. The program is sponsored by the City of Palm Desert which provides training, uniforms, fully equipped patrol vehicles, meeting and operation facilities, and staff to support the program.
COPS volunteers conduct non-confrontational patrols throughout the City deterring crime and reporting potential problems and suspicious activities to the police department. In addition, COPS members may be assigned to provide traffic control for special events and assist the police department when needed with traffic accidents, DUI checkpoints, and programs such as "Click It or Ticket". Volunteers are not empowered to stop vehicles, issue citations, or carry weapons. COPS volunteers are however given the discretion to issue warning citations to illegally parked vehicles such as those unauthorized to park in handicap zones and at fire lanes. These citations were designed and are issued to warn drivers that if a sworn law enforcement officer had witnessed the violation, the driver would be issued an actual ticket by the Palm Desert Police Department.
Additionally, COPS volunteers oversee Palm Desert’s Vacation Home Check Program. This program is available to Palm Desert residents that live in non-gated communities planning to be away from their home for at least two weeks or more. For those enrolled in the Vacation Home Check Program, COPS members will conduct physical checks of the exterior of the home and contact the Police Department and the resident to inform of any potential issues found. For more information on the program and how to enroll, click here.
The COPS Program is open anyone over age 18 with a valid driver’s license who can dedicate a minimum of 20 hours per month to the program. All applicants are screened by the police department. Accepted volunteers are required to complete a City sponsored training program, which includes CPR/First Aid certification, driver’s education, and traffic control instruction. In addition, all volunteers are required to attend the Palm Springs Citizens Police Academy to become a permanent COPS member.
The Palm Desert COPS organization is a member of the National Association of Citizens on Patrol (NACOP). In fact, the Palm Desert COPS have been awarded several awards at NACOP's annual conferences, to include first place prizes for vehicles and uniforms. If you are interested in making a difference in the community and would like to request an application for the COPS Program, or if you have further questions regarding the COPS Program, please call (760) 346-0611, ext. 416, or contact us.