Citizens Observer Patrol Program

The Oxford Police Department is proud to announce a program designed to involve Oxford residents and Miami University students in patrolling Oxford neighborhoods to enhance the quality of life shared by all and deter criminal behavior. The Citizens Observer Patrol (C.O.P.) is a program utilizing volunteers throughout the community to act as “eyes and ears” for officers on patrol.

C.O.P. teams will patrol neighborhoods in the C.O.P. vehicle, on foot or on bicycles. They will be encouraged to radio or telephone in any suspicious activities that merit police investigation. OPD will offer an intensive mandatory training session for all volunteers, then members will be assigned to a specific scheduled “patrol duty.”

If you are interested in participating in the C.O.P. program, you may print the PDF file below, fill out the application and forward to Lt. Lara Fening at the Oxford Police Department. If you have any questions about the C.O.P. program, you may contact Lt. Fening by emailing her or by calling 513-524-5240.


  1. To deter criminal activity in our city neighborhoods, and to reduce the amount of criminal activity in our community.
  2. To increase resident/student respect and cooperation.
  3. To further the Oxford Police Department’s commitment to the community in accordance with our Mission Statement.


Residents of Oxford who are 18 years of age or older, students of Miami University, and other individuals with approval of the Oxford Police Department.


Training for the Citizens Observer Patrol Program follows the policies developed by the Oxford Police Department. These will include, at a minimum: the Police Department’s commitment to the C.O.P. Program, the member’s commitment and responsibilities, civil and criminal liability, personal safety, and other pertinent training as needed. Instructors will be chosen from within the Police Department. Police Department staff establishes and approves the duration and scope of training.

Selection Process

Selection of qualified candidates will rest with the Oxford Police Department. These selections will be made based on policies developed for this program as well as those governing the operation of the Police Department. These will include, as a minimum:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Resident of Oxford or student of Miami University, and other individuals with approval of the Police Department
  • No criminal record
  • Submit to a background investigation
  • Be available to participate

C.O.P. Member Responsibilities

Upon successful completion of training, members of the C.O.P. program will need to understand and sign the C.O.P. administrative forms regarding the rules and regulations of the program. Members of C.O.P. will patrol specific neighborhoods of the city on a volunteer basis. C.O.P. members will be equipped with a two-way radio and/or cell phone to communicate with the police dispatcher. The C.O.P. member’s primary focus will be patrolling on foot or in a vehicle reporting suspicious activity to the dispatcher. The dispatcher will then send a patrol unit to the area while the C.O.P. member attempts to continue surveillance from a safe distance from the suspicious activity.

C.O.P. Patrol Units

A Patrol Unit will consist of one resident of the community plus one Miami University student, or any combination of the two. It is the Oxford Police Department’s desire to have one unit patrolling at a time.

Hours of Operation

The Oxford Police Department prefers to have a C.O.P. patrol unit out and on patrol during identified hours. The days and hours of operation for this program at its inception are predominately Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11:00pm to 3:00am

Supervision of the C.O.P. Program

The C.O.P. program will be supervised as any other program initiated by the Oxford Police Department, and the Police Department’s Community Services Lieutenant administers it. The C.O.P.S. Coordinator will be in charge of overseeing the day-to-day operations of the C.O.P. program. The on-duty Patrol Supervisor will supervise the C.O.P. Patrol Units when actively patrolling.


The Oxford Police Department will supply the C.O.P. program with portable radios capable of monitoring and transmitting on the primary dispatch channel. The Police Department will also supply rechargeable flashlights. Members of the C.O.P. program will receive a picture ID recognizing them as a member of the Oxford Police Department C.O.P. Program.


C.O.P. members must conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times while patrolling. Members must be aware that they are not vigilantes, but an extension of the Police Department’s “eyes and ears.” C.O.P. members will not be authorized to carry any weapon, nor involve themselves directly with suspects, to either detain them or engage in any activity normally associated with the duties of an Oxford Police Officer. A member who engages in activity that violates any rule or regulation of the C.O.P. program will be dismissed. Strict adherence to the rules and regulations of the C.O.P. program keep the members safe, as well as to keep them from criminal and civil liability.


The City of Oxford and Oxford Police Department will recognize active C.O.P. members annually for their participation with a Certificate of Appreciation. Furthermore, active C.O.P. members will receive other recognition deemed appropriate by the City of Oxford.


Download the Citizens Observer Patrol Application »