April 25, 2024 / News

National Volunteer Month Feature #1

To celebrate National Volunteer Month, the Police Foundation is highlighting volunteer programs that support the San Diego Police Department. We will be sharing stories from volunteers who are making a positive difference in our community. SDPD offers six volunteer programs which include the Cadet Program, Crisis Intervention, the Reserves, STAR/PAL, RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol), and VIP (Volunteers in Policing).

Crisis Interventionist Kathy Leach

How did you become involved with the Crisis Intervention program?
My involvement with Crisis Intervention began a little over one year ago. I retired during Covid from my 45-year career as a flight attendant with a major air carrier.  Retirement was not in my plan, but as I was flying International, most of my routes were not available at that time. It was a tough transition for me as I loved my job and missed it. One day, while watching the news, I saw an interview with an interventionist talking about recruitment for the program. I attended the informational meeting the following week.  

What do you enjoy most about volunteering for the Crisis Intervention program?
Being a volunteer with SDPD Crisis Intervention is an opportunity to not only assist folks…but to lend support and offer follow-up information for families and victims of various situations. Having been through traumatic situations myself, I am able to share my compassion and empathy with others. 

What do you wish more people knew about SDPD and/or volunteering for SDPD?
I have volunteered in various aspects since I was 19.  I’m turning 70 next month and I will say volunteering with SDPD is at the top of my list. Anyone interested should know there is a vast variety of volunteer opportunities available.  As a volunteer, you would support not only the men and women of SDPD but also our community at so many levels. I encourage folks interested in volunteering their time to look into working alongside SDPD. It is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. 

Crisis Interventionist Pete Griffin

How did you become involved with the Crisis Intervention program?
Both of my kids were in college at that point, and I was looking for something meaningful to devote my extra time and energy to. The idea of volunteering to help the community at large had never really been on my radar until I randomly wandered upon the SDPD website and saw the volunteer opportunities section. As I looked through the different options, nothing really caught my attention until I saw the Crisis Intervention program. I looked further into it and did some research to understand what it entailed. I knew this was something that would interest and engage me. I contacted Volunteer Services and proceeded to pursue the program.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering for the Crisis Intervention program?
There are multiple aspects of the program, and my specific role, that give me a sense of fulfillment. As a Crisis Interventionist, I appreciate the public trust and opportunity given to me to be dispatched to traumatic incidents. I’m able to utilize my training and instinct to help my fellow community members in their time of need. I have never departed an incident without the sense that my presence made a difference during the few short hours that I was on scene attending to the family and friends who lost a loved one or suffered from a trauma.

As the Outreach Manager for the program, my role is to connect with the division Community Relations Officers to set up a schedule of patrol officer lineup training talks. I’ve given more than 30 presentations at the lineups and held meetings with multiple staff and division CROs. I’ve also gone on patrol ride-alongs with each division. During these activities, I promote awareness of our program and increase both my, and the patrol officers’, understanding of how we can work together to strengthen the relationship and better serve our community.

What do you wish more people knew about SDPD and/or volunteering for SDPD?
I’ve had direct contact with a large number of active patrol officers and command staff. I must say that from my perspective, the SDPD is one of the most professional, and well-trained organizations that I’ve ever been involved with. If a person chooses to volunteer, in some capacity for the SDPD, they are going to gain more skills and learn more life lessons than just about any other endeavor that they could dedicate their time and efforts to.

Why should community members volunteer to support SDPD?
Community members should volunteer for a number of reasons. Some of those reasons can be personal. It could also be that they have the time, energy, and motivation to commit to their specific program of interest, that they want to pursue activities that reach beyond their immediate self, families, or personal situation, or that they want to learn things about themselves and our community that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience. I think an underlying reason could be that they want to make the community of San Diego a better place to live.

The CRISIS Intervention program needs volunteers to continue to provide on-scene services to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If interested, please contact San Diego Police Department Volunteer Services at (619) 446-1017 or crisis@pd.sandiego.gov

CRISIS Brochure