History of the Crime Prevention Center

The Billings Police Department began its effort in the area of volunteerism in the mid 1990s. This effort began with the formation of the first Cop Shop along the model of that recommended by Community Policing. The original Cop Shop Program was supervised by a patrol officer; later the program was supervised by a part-time civilian who also supervised the DUI Task Force.

By year 2000, the BPD’s regional Cop Shops totaled three in number – each one representing a different region of the City – Cop Shop South, Cop Shop West, and Cop Shop Heights. Each Cop Shop was tasked with handling the incoming reports which occurred in their own regional area.

In 2001, the BPD Volunteer Program saw the arrival of a full-time Volunteer Coordinator whose position was funded 50/50 by the Department and a grant. Concurrently, the BPD Volunteer Program began to expand through the creation of its Special Projects Division. Many tasks that were undertaken did not neatly fit into the old Cop Shop mold; such areas as Corporate Volunteers, Computer Support, Training, and Manual Writing were all incorporated into this new Division. Most of the hours logged within this new Division were worked outside of the physical Cop Shop environment.

Additionally by 2001, many of the efforts of Cop Shop personnel were logically turning to providing an increasing amount of Crime Prevention efforts. This demand for more proactive Crime Prevention programs caused the formation of the third Division within the BPD Volunteer Program – the Crime Prevention Division. This Division worked with the BPD’s Crime Prevention Officer who was assigned an office in Cop Shop South.

In 2003, with the Cop Shop Heights struggling to maintain staffing during its published hours of operation, it was permanently shut down and its workload shifted to the remaining two Cop Shops.

In 2005, the BPD’s Volunteer Coordinator position was fully funded by the Department’s budget. In March of 2005, the total consolidation of the regional Cop Shops and all of the Divisions within the BPD Volunteer Program – became a reality with the move into the Cop Shop West’s facility at Rimrock Mall. It had long been recognized that in order to maximize the effectiveness, efficiency, and potential of the BPD Volunteer Program, it would be both desirable and necessary to consolidate all of the Divisions possible into a single and community accessible facility.

The search was then begun for a “no cost” donated space which would meet the stated physical space requirements as the initial evaluation point. The result was the former Sidney’s Restaurant, located virtually next door to the Cop Shop West/Crime Prevention Center at the Rimrock Mall. This was the only space offered to the BPD Volunteer Program following a multi-year and city-wide search. Fortunately, it more than met the minimum requirements needed. Negotiations were begun and eventually the property was secured.

At the beginning of December, 2006, BPD Volunteer Program personnel moved into their new state-of-the-art facility – The BPD Crime Prevention Center. This nearly year long demolition and construction project was conceived, designed, built, and furnished utilizing mostly donated labor and materials and costing the City only its originally budgeted amount of $18,000.00.

The facility is a giant leap forward for the BPD Volunteer Program, its personnel, and its programs. With this new facility, community interaction with the Department is increased, enhanced, and most importantly – positively reinforced. It is through careful design and proactive thought that this facility exists today as a monument to civic support.