Palm Bay Volunteer Cop Program Founder Passes Away
By Space Coast Daily // June 15, 2014
Started Palm Bay's First VCOP Program in 1995
BREVARD COUNTY • PALM BAY, FLORIDA — The founder of Palm Bay’s Volunteer Citizen Observer Program (VCOP), Tony Colandrea passed away last week.
Colandrea was 90-years-old. Colandrea started the police department’s first VCOP program in 1995 and is credited with developing it as a successful model program that is used around the world.
The program began with just a handful of volunteers and has grown to more than 50 active participants today.
In 2008 Colandrea became the first recipient of Brevard County’s “Star” Volunteer Award which recognized him for his outstanding volunteer service through the nearly 2000 hours he logged during the calendar year.
In 2011, Colandrea and his team hosted a special delegation from the Jamaican Constabulary Force (JCF) which came to the Palm Bay Police Department to learn more about the VCOP program in hopes of implementing its own as part of a critical function of the JCF’S Community Safety and Security Branch.
It has since been called VCOP Jamaica in honor or Palm Bay’s program. Representatives from law enforcement agencies from several states around the U.S. have also visited Palm Bay to learn about the VCOP program.
“Tony made a huge contribution to this department and to the city of Palm Bay,” said Chief Doug Muldoon.
“What he started continues to make a positive impact in communities around the world and that’s thanks to Tony’s leadership. We will always remember him with great love and respect and will miss him greatly as will many others.”
Colandrea retired in 2012. Funeral arrangements are currently being made.