Auxiliary police volunteers can be found in communities across Westchester, from cities like Yonkers and Mount Vernon to villages like Larchmont and Rye Brook. The White Plains Auxiliary Police Division is one of the longest-serving active volunteer forces, having attracted recruits since the 1970s.
The 20 volunteers who comprisethe White Plains Division are required to do a few different details every year – mostly to assist in traffic and crowd control during large events, such as parades, winter holiday events, and the Fourth of July fireworks celebration. White Plains Police Commissioner David Chong says the auxiliary police can also be activated as a force multiplier during natural disasters and emergencies. Volunteer police officers are in uniform when on duty. They are not armed, but some have their own license to carry a firearm, which they may use only in self-defense. (Each municipality, however, sets up its auxiliary force differently. Some, such as Yonkers, train auxiliary officers in firearms, which the officers carry as part of their required equipment.)
“We have professionals–doctors, businesspeople, and others with high-profile jobs – giving up their time to help out in their community,” Chong says. “They are amazing people, and I really appreciate them.”
Volunteers are thoroughly vetted, must pass a background investigation and attend a peace officer’s training program at the police academy.
Irene Daniels, a lieutenant with the volunteer force, joined 35 years ago, after being hired as the secretary to the White Plains chief of police, a position she still holds. “I wanted to see what it was like in the field,” she explains. Volunteers receive ongoing monthly training, and, says Daniels, the training provides her with skills she can use in everyday life, such as lifesaving techniques.
Get Started: White Plains residents should contact Captain David Burpee at 914.422.6220. A vetting process and police-academy training are required, and members are expected to work a few events per year.
Similar Ops: Thirteen other Westchester communities offer residents the chance to join their auxiliary police force.