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Posted on Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Ypsilanti Police Department seeks to increase volunteer numbers for neighborhood patrols, event coverage

By Katrease Stafford

The Ypsilanti Police Department is accepting applications for its 2013 Citizen Police Academy and is hopeful it can increase its number of volunteer service corp members, who conduct neighborhood patrols and provide assistance at events.

"Right now we have 17 active (volunteer service corp) members and we're looking to increase that with a couple people who have the time and dedication," said Sgt. Brent Yuchasz. "It does take up your time, but we appreciate the effort."


Ypsilanti Police Officer Anthony Schembri and K-9 German shepherd Buky have been working on the force together for five years. Volunteer police academy members will learn more about the work the K-9 unit does as well as other specialties.

Joseph Tobianski |

The neighborhood patrols are particularly crucial to the department, which doesn't have the extra personnel to do them on a regular basis. Residents, and volunteers, report the patrols makes them feel safer, Yuchasz said.

The department is currently staffed by 25 sworn officers, which represents a decrease from two years ago when the force was made up of 40 sworn officers.

The latest SEMCOG data from 2011 show that with a population of 19,435 people, Ypsilanti has 12.8 officers per 10,000 residents, which is below the benchmark of 16.

Two years ago, the department had 20.5 officers per 10,000 residents. The department handles about 20,000 calls per year, with 800 being handled by each officer. SEMCOG said this is far above the average of 570.

Yuchasz said the number of volunteers has stayed the same over the past few years, but an increase would be helpful.

"They (the volunteers) can be our eyes and ears," Yuchasz said. "It's just a way to supplement the department. ... Something we’ve been working on is increasing the presence in the community for the last five or six years. They (the volunteers) want to do what they can to make neighborhoods better."

Volunteers can work between two and eight hours. Although the volunteers aren't sworn officers, Yuchasz said they make residents feel safe.

The academy will take place in the late spring and classes will meet for about two hours on Thursday evenings for total of five weeks. Yuchasz said the academy has been in place for more than 10 years, but it's been a few years since the department has hosted one.

"We just like to offer people the opportunity to see what we do on a daily basis," Yuchasz said. "... They get exposed to stuff on TV, but we want to give them a realistic perspective."

Participants will obtain training and experience to familiarize them with the department in the following areas:

  • Community policing practices and Volunteer Service Corps
  • Patrol tactics and the detective bureau
  • Crime scene investigation
  • K-9 and narcotics investigations
  • Self defense and SWAT operations

Officers who are trained in each area of expertise will teach courses over the five week academy and at the end, participants will be given the chance to do ride-alongs with the department.

Those who complete the Citizens Academy may be given the opportunity to join the Volunteer Service Corps. In addition to patrols, volunteers help with special community events such as parades and festivals.

Yuchasz said each VSC member has a uniform and is provided a radio, allowing them to communicate with dispatch or the department.

"They assist us with traffic because some of the events are so large we don’t have the personnel to cover all street closures," Yuchasz said.

The upcoming Color Run event, which is expected to bring more than 14,000 people to Ypsilanti in May, will result in several street closures, Yuchasz said.

"The people that are in the corp right now will participate in that and will handle traffic and advise how to get through it," he said. "They'll work right alongside us."

A hard deadline has not been set yet for those interested in applying, but Yuchasz said he would like to receive applications by the end of April.

For more information or an applicaton, contact Yuchasz at or at 734-483-9510.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.



Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 1:06 a.m.

I feel so sorry for YPD. They are so overworked and under staffed. City hall, get it together and find a way to get more of Ypsi's finest on the road.


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 7:56 p.m.

Ypsi, want your streets back, take them back! Get you weapon, get some training and get your backbone!The police aren't hear to protect you from violence in your neighborhood, they can't, they're here to make the report after you stand your ground and take whatever steps necessary to protect yourself and your family. Who was the victim in the Martin/Zimmerman incident? Don't know but I'm not going to put myself in Zimmerman's shoes.

Bob Krzewinski

Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 6:16 p.m.

I would like to DEMAND that people who DEMAND our government staff do this or that, use their real name to stand behind their DEMANDING statements. I REALLY, REALLY would like to DEMAND that!!!


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.

Didn't Benjamin Franklin develop the first volunteer fire dept? I know he developed volunteerism. Maybe I am thinking of someone else.


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 1:02 a.m.

With apathy like this, no one should wonder why Ypsi has become a failed city. Let's just sit idly by and let the state figure out our problems, right Bob?


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 4:50 p.m.

I would volunteer my time helping the firefighters. This seems like it could be too risky for the average civilian.


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 4:16 p.m.

This is called Neighborhood Watch on an upscale version. Washtenaw Country Sheriffs dpt is also looking for people to do this as well. I am seriously considering doing this but need the child to be driving so I m not trying to do 50 things at once. Once September hits? I will be seriously looking at this and seriously folks? This will be something that can bring the rif raff down to a minimum. NW is a citizens patrol without total involvement. We were told our crime is really down to almost nothing. But here is a warning to those trying to cut thru the neighborhoods after Ford Road bridge is torn down? You will be fined. WCSD told us they will up the patrol cars.


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 4:02 p.m.

I bet George Zimmerman wishes he never volunteer for his neighborhood watch job.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

Ricebrnr, he's not up on the latest information. Any information that could possibly indicate Zimmerman may have been defending himself is banned from liberal media outlets.


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 4:32 p.m.

@ Lake Trout, odd because there is yet to be a trial to establish your assertions as fact. Last I heard, Zimmerman was responding to that directive and was returning to his vehicle when Martin confronted him. Somehow leading to Martin attempting to kill him.

Lake Trout

Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 2:55 p.m.

To all of you commening on Zimmerman - he was told NOT to engage the individual but evidently could not follow instruction and so ended up in the bad situation of getting the tar beat out of him and going to jail for killing someone.

Usual Suspect

Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

Also... self defense is not 'Taking the law into your own hands." The law GIVES us the right to defend ourselves (much to the dismay of liberals), we do not need to TAKE it.

Usual Suspect

Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 12:38 a.m.

Their plan is for an individual to just lie there and allow a thug to continue to pummel his head into the cement until the police get there.


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 9:50 p.m.

The proper procedure for stopping someone from continuing to smash your head would otherwise be?


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 4:12 p.m.

The proper procedure is to call for help and not take the law into your own hands.


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 3:32 p.m.

All for volunteerism but curious: Will those with CPLs be allowed to carry during patrols and events? Who has liability for injuries to volunteers and how are they covered for such? Likewise what legal protections are afforded volunteers? And not to forget those of you wary of both armed citizens and authority what are the limitations and who watches the watchers?


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 11:06 p.m.

Figured as much. Sorry not much faith that a uniform and radio will be as effective

dading dont delete me bro

Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 10:07 p.m.

you are 'eyes and ears' with a radio to dispatch/command center. no weapons allowed, cpl included


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 3:30 p.m.

The real issue here is that our city manager and city council members have failed miserably to sufficiently staff our police department to ensure BASIC public safety. While I have no problem with the concept of a Citizen Police Academy, we need fully trained, SWORN police officers to maintain law and order. Our city manager and elected city council members are playing Russian roulette with public safety. It's an outrage! How dare our city manager and elected officials waste time and financial resources on non-essential services and programs when it has been proven over and over again that our police department is woefully understaffed. Not only is public safety being jeopardized, the very safety and wellbeing of our own officers is being jeopardized. The priorities of our city "leaders" are so out of whack, it is sickening. It's time to DEMAND accountability of the city manager and city council. It's time to DEMAND that inadequately staffed and underfunded police and fire departments will no longer be tolerated in the city. The city could fund several more police officers and firefighters by one simply action alone – eliminate the NUMEROUS "consultants" the city manager has contracted with to help him do his job and eliminate the wholly unnecessary assistant position the city manager just hired to help him do his job. Enough is enough! Demand more! Demand better!

Lake Trout

Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 2:51 p.m.

...and I would hope after that statement, that you will be first in line to help your City despite the Mayor/Manager. Words are all well and good, but actions are what make a community better.

dading dont delete me bro

Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 10:08 p.m.

ask your mayor, he went through the program.