National Neighborhood Watch

A Division of the National Sheriffs' Association

Crime prevention through neighborhood cohesiveness and collaboration.


Citizen Corps

Citizen Corps and National Neighborhood Watch:
Harnessing the Power of Every Individual

Building a resilient community involves multiple sectors and engagement from each corner of the community. As active members seeking to keep our neighborhoods safe and prepared, we know how instrumental volunteers can be. A great resource working with National Neighborhood Watch to strengthen volunteerism and community resilience is Citizen Corps.


The mission of Citizen Corps is to harness the power of every individual through education, training, and volunteer service to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and disasters of all kinds through:

  • Preparing the public for local risks with targeted outreach
  • Engaging voluntary organizations to help augment resources for public safety, preparedness and response capabilities
  • Integrating the whole community and integrates nontraditional resources to ensure disaster preparedness

The Citizen Corps program includes a national network of over 1,200 state, local, and tribal Citizen Corps Councils bring together local government, business, and community leaders who work to prepare their communities for disaster and to make them more resilient. Councils harnesses the power of every individual through education, training, and volunteer service to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to the hazards and threats facing their community.

Citizen Corps asks you to embrace the personal responsibility to be prepared; to get training in first aid and emergency skills; and to volunteer to support local emergency responders, disaster relief, and community safety.

FEMA Citizen Responder

Registering your Citizen Corps Council through the FEMA Citizen Responder website will better connect the public to community activities and initiatives that support disaster resilience. Locate a Citizen Corps Council near you on the FEMA Citizen Responder site including contact information and upcoming events.

History of Citizen Corps

Following the tragic events that occurred on September 11, 2001, state and local government officials increased opportunities for citizens to become an integral part of protecting the homeland and supporting the local first responders.

In January 2002, the President of the United States launched Citizen Corps, to capture the spirit of service that emerged throughout our communities following the terrorist attacks.

Citizen Corps programs build on the successful efforts that are in place in many communities around the country to prevent crime and respond to emergencies. Programs that started through local innovation are the foundation for Citizen Corps and this national approach to citizen participation in community safety.

Citizen Corps is coordinated nationally by the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency. In this capacity, FEMA works closely with other federal entities, state and local governments, first responders and emergency managers, the volunteer community, and the Corporation for National & Community Service.

Key Data Points

Terms and Conditions for Citizen Corps Affiliation

To be considered for official affiliation with Citizen Corps, programs and organizations must:

  • Meet with headquarters FEMA Community Preparedness Division personnel to discuss potential partnership details and opportunities with Citizen Corps
  • Support the mission of citizen participation in making America safer
  • Be non-profit or government sponsored and demonstrate a nationwide scope
  • Be non-partisan
  • Not be listed on any Federal or State registers of financial non-responsibility.

Each potential National Citizen Corps Affiliate must provide a complete Affiliation package to FEMA's Community Preparedness Division. Upon receipt of the Affiliation package, the information will go through a FEMA-wide approval process, including review by FEMA's Office of General Counsel and FEMA Policy.

Once approved, representatives from Citizen Corps and the program or organization will sign a "Statement of Affiliation," which will include an agreement to:

  • Recognize the common purpose and mission between Citizen Corps and the approved organization
  • Publicly acknowledge the affiliation, which may include website links, co-logos on publications, and references in printed materials
  • Coordinate activities to ensure efficient use of the organization's resources for Citizen Corps
  • Keep FEMA informed of activities conducted in support of Citizen Corps and provide an annual report summarizing those activities

Affiliation with Citizen Corps at the National level does not constitute endorsement of any specific program or organization by FEMA or the Federal government, nor will an affiliate's membership or employees be deemed agents of or assigned to FEMA or the Federal government. In addition, affiliate status does not confer or encompass financial support of or obligations from Citizen Corps, FEMA, or the Federal government to affiliates programs or organizations.