Example of community policing:
the Hansen Dam Volunteer Patrol


Example of community policing:
the Hansen Dam Volunteer Patrol

EDITOR'S NOTE: Here at los Angeles Community Policing we encourage the active volunteers in the region to write us articles about what's happening in their area ... how well it's working, and how to get involved.  Here's one such community member's offering, about a terrific program, the Hansen Dam Volunteer Patrol !

Volunteer coordinator:

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Each summer, large amounts of unsafe and illegal activity unfortunately takes place in Hansen Dam Recreational Area. A list of the most commonly observed activity includes: graffiti, camp fires & barbecues, alcohol consumption, swimming in lakes and streams, use of ATVs & minibikes, damming of streams (disturbing the habitat of rare and protected aquatic species), littering, paint ball fights, lewd conduct, drug trafficking, guns & rifles, public defecation, and hunting.

Problems in hard-to-access areas like the Big Tujunga Wash in the Hansen Dam Recreational Area require special effort to mitigate. Last summer in a test program with the LA City Park Rangers, it was found that with as little manpower as one peace officer and one volunteer on horseback, a focused effort could indeed make a substantial difference in reducing unsafe and illicit activity in this rugged area.

The Hansen Dam Volunteer Patrol is a joint program of the LAPD and the LA City Park Rangers. It evolved directly from last summer's test program and the LAPD's Hansen Dam Neighborhood Watch program. Besides the LAPD and Park Rangers, directly-involved agencies include the LAFD, LA County Police, LA City Lifeguards, and the C.E.M.P. Agencies invited to participate include the LA City OPS.

Under the direct supervision of either an LAPD officer or a Park Ranger, during patrol shifts, volunteers assist the officers with prevention and education: educating the public on possible closures, park rules, and safe locations to enjoy barbecues, swimming, and other activities in the area. Volunteers also assist with identifying, locating, and reporting unsafe or illegal activities in the area. Volunteer assignments may change depending upon the officer(s) in charge of the shift and the details of the situation at a particular time, but volunteers are not asked to do anything with which they do not feel comfortable.

Anyone at least 18 years of age may volunteer. Training is provided by the officer(s) in charge of each shift. One shift is usually 2-3 hours long. Due of the difficulty of the terrain in the area, at least one volunteer on horseback is needed per shift.

Volunteer patrols started Memorial Day weekend and have been extremely successful,resultin g in a reduction in illicit and unsafe activities in the area. Feedback from participating City agencies, volunteers, and community groups has been very positive.

With experience as well as increased participation from City agencies and the community, the Hansen Dam Volunteer Patrol will continue to evolve in its efforts to assist in keeping Hansen Dam Recreational Area a safe place for everyone to enjoy.


To volunteer, or to be placed on the e-mail list for the Hansen Dam Volunteer Patrol, please contact:

Volunteer coordinator
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For more information on the Hansen Dam Volunteer Patrol, please contact:

LAPD -- Senior Lead Officer Larry Martinez
(818) 634-0705

LA City Park Rangers -- Chief Albert Torres
(323) 644-6661