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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Volunteers on Patrol Given Authority to Issue Parking Citations within City Limits

• Officials Say It Will Save Municipality Money

BY BILL KOENEKER

Malibu’s Volunteers on Patrol are about to be handed some additional duties and powers after the Malibu City Council authorized the VOP to enforce parking violations.
The city currently uses the volunteers who are trained and registered as members of the Sheriff's Department’s VOP program. The volunteers wear uniforms and travel in a marked VOP patrol car, according to city officials.
For the most part, volunteers have taken up observe-and-report duties, as well as residential vacation checks.
However, VOP members have not been authorized to issue citations of any kind. Their prior role was to notify the Sheriff’s station of infractions and available deputies were then deployed to the area to take any appropriate action, according to municipal officials.
Utilizing the VOP team to issue citations of city parking restrictions would supplement the current enforcement performed by parking enforcement officers, according to the city report. Volunteers must complete required training provided by the LASD.
 “The primary objectives for the members shall be to prevent crime by mere presence, or identify public hazards,” the LASD VOP guidelines state.
 “Members shall also act as the eyes and ears of the Sheriff’s department by identifying suspicious activities, crimes in progress, or dangerous circumstances. The members shall not take action themselves, but shall notify the proper authorities.”
There is also a cost savings realized since volunteers would take the place of a paid deputy, according to Malibu officials.

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