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Volunteer Opportunities

The San Diego Police Department has several volunteer opportunities available for residents who want to assist in keeping San Diegans safe. Volunteers must pass a police background. No persons with felony or misdemeanor convictions will be accepted.

See what volunteer position might fit your skills and join the team today! 

Apply to be a Volunteer


Volunteers In Policing (V.I.P.)

SDPD is not currently in need of additional V.I.P's. Please check back for future openings. 

Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol (R.S.V.P.)

You Are Not Alone

Hours: Vary; see below.
Locations: Vary
Minimum Age: 50
Court Referrals: No

Assist in providing an increased level of crime prevention programs within specific geographic areas, perform vacation house checks and You Are Not Alone welfare checks, and promote community awareness and acceptance of R.S.V.P. program.

Qualifications: 50 years of age or older, interest in working with law enforcement officers, effective oral and written communication skills, reliable and trustworthy with confidential information, in good health, valid California Driver's License. Previous law enforcement experience not required. 

All applicants must complete a ride-along at the police station they would like work at AND an online application through the City's Volunteer Better Impact portal.

Upon the completion of a background and selection process, you will be required to participate in a TWO-WEEK Academy to prepare you for field duties.

Time Commitment: Three, 8-hour shifts per month

For more information, contact Volunteer Services at 619-446-1017 or email at

Cadet Program

The basic Cadet requirements are as follows:

  • 16-21 years old
  • High School graduate or a minimum 2.0 GPA if still enrolled in school
  • Successfully complete a written exam, character interview and background check

Time Commitment: After completion of the academy, Cadets are required to attend two meetings a month. Meetings are held on the first and third Mondays of every month from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. at the San Diego Police Department Headquarters building, 1401 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101. It is highly recommended that Cadets also participate in other activities, but it is not mandatory. Therefore, time commitment with the Cadet program can range from a minimum of four hours a month to over 40.

Cadet Academy: The Cadet academy must be completed before becoming a Cadet. Each academy will start with a mandatory orientation meeting where more information will be given. For the next six sessions, class is held every Monday night from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m., and every Saturday from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

The training academy includes courses on CPR, Criminal Law, Arrest Procedures, Search and Seizures, Ethics, Law and Arrest, Map Book Reading, Narcotics, Report Writing, Policy and Procedures, Field Training, Defensive Tactics and Patrol Procedures.

Approximately one week after completion of academy classes, a graduation is held to honor those who have passed.

While teamwork is emphasized throughout the academy, individual achievement is recognized as well. Five awards are presented upon graduation.

  • Academic Achievement Award - Given to the Cadet with the best test scores.
  • Top Cadet Award -  Given to the Cadet chosen by his/her fellow Cadets based on motivation and team effort.
  • Most Improved Award - Given to the Cadet determined to have come the farthest in terms of attitude and achievement.
  • Physical Fitness Awards - For the top Cadets based on push-ups, sit-ups and running time.

Advance Cadet Training (ACT) Academy: The Advance Cadet Training Academy is a great privilege and learning experience for the Cadets. It is NOT MANDATORY, but it is so much fun that most Cadets choose to spend five hours a day for four days, and all day the following Saturday participating in it. A few of the highlights include an introduction to S.W.A.T., a demonstration from the fire department, learning Patrol Procedures, Advance Radio Procedures, Street Weapons, Officer Survival, Defense Tactics, and Arrest and Control.

A trip is also taken to the obstacle course for Cadets to test their physical abilities. Cadets are timed in completing challenging tasks such as carrying a 180-pound dummy, jumping over four, six, and eight-foot fences, crawling through dog houses, jumping through windows and much more.

On Saturday, the last day of the A.C.T. Academy, Cadets participate in "Duffy Town," a simulated town complete with houses, a bank, a store, live victims, gang members, thieves and innocent bystanders played by police officers. This is a chance for Cadets to utilize the skills they have learned in a controlled environment.

For more information, contact Cadet Facilitators at 619-531-2259 or email at

Crisis Intervention

Photo of Crisis Intervention Team

Hours: Vary; see below.
Locations: Vary
Minimum Age: 21
Court Referrals: No

Crisis Intervention Video

Crisis Intervention Volunteer

Assist police by responding to scenes to assist residents who have been affected by a crime or other critical incident. Provide emotional and logistical support, referrals and resources.

Qualifications: Must reside in the City of San Diego, 21 years or older, communicate well with people, good driving record, valid CA driver's license, personal vehicle with insurance.

Time Commitment: Twenty “On-Call” hours per month. Attend monthly training meeting(s). Must be able to commit to 1-year involvement with the program.

For more information, contact Volunteer Services at 619-446-1017 or e-mail


Reserves work in the same capacity as full-time police officers.

Hours: Vary; see below.
Locations: Vary
Minimum Age: 21
Court Referrals: No

Reserves must possess a current POST Level I certificate and pass a police background check. 

Qualifications: Must undergo the same hiring process as full-time officers and upon selection, successfully complete 400 hours of training with a Field Training Officer.

Time Commitment: At least 20 hours per month, attend Regional Officer Training, and Reserve Unit Meetings.

For more information, contact Volunteer Services at 619-446-1017.

STAR/PAL Youth Program (Sports Training, Academics & Recreation / Police Athletic League)

Star Pal

Hours: Vary; see below.
Location: 4110 54th Street, Colina del Sol Park
Minimum Age: 18
Court Referrals: No

(No persons with felony or misdemeanor convictions accepted.)

Provide homework assistance and some remedial help to students studying in City or County branch libraries at various locations.

Qualifications: Patient, flexible, enjoys working with children, dependable

Time Commitment: 1-2 days per week; 1+ hours per day; late afternoons

Assist with youth athletic or recreational activities, including score keeping, judging, timing, umpiring, set up/take down, food service, etc. May include football, track & field, soccer, basketball, swimming, fishing, math olympiads, etc.

Qualifications: Enjoys working with youth, knowledge of sports and rules where needed

Time Commitment: Weekends, 4 hours per event or duration of event

SD Family Justice Center Volunteer

Minimum Age: 18
Court Referrals: No

Volunteers must pass a City of San Diego Personnel Dept. background.
(No persons with felony or misdemeanor convictions are eligible)

  • Administrative support -projects that need to be completed for the FJC which involve clerical support and other assignments for staff;
  • Children's room - supervising and engaging in activities with children in the children's room which offers books, toys and games, and children's videos;
  • Interpreters - assist with translating for clients (our greatest need is for Spanish language interpreters but all languages are welcome);
  • Reception area - assist at our front desk welcoming clients, checking clients in, answering the phones, making copies and distributing mail;
  • Special projects -special events, grant writing, fundraising events, public relations and planning of community events.

Time Commitment: Our center is open Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We require a minimum of 16 hours per month in four-hour increments. We require the volunteer to make a nine-month commitment as a volunteer here. It is absolutely acceptable if volunteers wish to work longer hours or stay longer than nine months.