The Surprise Police Department is a municipal law enforcement agency with an authorized workforce of 204 employees. At 107 square miles, Surprise is Arizona’s 10th-largest city, and has a population over 142,000.
On average, SPD responds to more than 42,000 calls for service per year. The department is proud to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) since 2007, and remains committed to maintaining a safe community by providing Extraordinary law enforcement customer service.
In 1996, the initial concept for a volunteer program was presented to the city council by the Surprise police chief to augment the police department’s staff. With support from city government, the Surprise Citizens Courtesy Patrol (SCCP) was organized in 1997 and consisted of seven original members.
Between 1996 and 2010 the city of Surprise population increased significantly, and the volunteer program also grew, developing into multi-faceted program now known as the “Citizen’s Patrol.” Official policies and procedures were developed and an organizational structure was implemented, along with a 36-hour basic academy to train our volunteer staff.
The Police Department was able to respond to the massive growth of the city, maintain excellent public service and establish the city as one of the safest in Arizona due in part to the support provided by the Citizen Patrol program.
The department employs numerous methods to recruit volunteers into the ranks of our Citizens Patrol. One of the most effective, is the visible presence of SCP volunteers throughout the community during neighborhood patrols, at neighborhood block parties and public events.
This visibility affords SCP members the opportunity to interact with the public in a very positive manner. The SCP presents a professional and approachable demeanor allowing its members to routinely provide extraordinary customer service. As a result SCP members often are asked by members of the community about how they too can be a part of the organization.
The department also uses a handful of other highly effective methods, such as social media, and an official city webpage to encourage our community members to join the ranks of the SCP.
The primary responsibility of the SCP is to provide support services to the sworn officers patrolling the city, serving in any capacity that will enable officers to more effectively and efficiently perform their duties.
Functions of the SCP include, traffic control, assistance with special events, responding to and providing assistance at crime scenes, providing vacation watches for our winter visitors, maintaining the readiness of our command vehicle and assisting with a variety of administrative functions, all while providing the extra “eyes and ears” in the community.
The SCP administration manages the thousands of hours volunteered each year. The volunteers will schedule any event or detail that is requested and make every effort to ensure that the request is filled.
The SCP maintains a similar rank structure to the Surprise Police Department. A commander of the SCP is selected to lead the organization every two years. In 2020, Commander Marylene Cayron was selected to lead the all-volunteer organization.
Along with a newly selected commander, 2020 has also brought new equipment to the SCP. Four new vehicles, two pickup trucks and two small SUVs, were delivered this year, and for the first time in SCP history these vehicles proudly wear a new logo and design that was chosen by the volunteers that drive them.
This new design is very distinctive. In years past, the SCP vehicles were marked very similarly to the Surprise Police Department fleet of patrol cars. This new design celebrates the SCP relationship with the Surprise Police Department, while highlighting the SCP with the individual identity they deserve.
As 2021 begins, we at the Surprise Police Department look forward to building upon our previous successes and long-established relationship with our Surprise Citizens Patrol. Happy New Year.
Editor’s Note: Terry Young is the Surprise police chief.