Security Journal

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 717–733 | Cite as

Volunteer police: History, benefits, costs and current descriptions

  • Adam DobrinEmail author
Original Article


People in free societies are best governed when members of the community take active participation in the oversight of the community. One mechanism for participation in such oversight is volunteer police. Volunteer police have been part of western policing since the inception of the concept of police, and the practice currently continues. Of benefit to police organizations, modern volunteer police provide financial, personnel and strategic benefits to police agencies. The communities policed benefit from having greater community participation in the policing process. Those who volunteer, as auxiliary or reserve police officers or sheriff’s deputies, gain from the participation as well. And the world of security can benefit from having members volunteering with police agencies. After presenting a discussion on such benefits, this article discusses the potential costs and problems of volunteer police. It continues with data on national estimates of volunteer police in the United States, in addition to a more detailed presentation of volunteer police policies and data from a single state and data from single local agency within that state. It also suggests future research needs.


volunteer police auxiliary reserve sheriff deputies community oriented policing professional policing 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Florida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonUSA

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