Monday, August 25, 2008


The reserve program is a great tool for both aspiring police officers, and law enforcement agencies.

I have found there are basically two groups of reserve officers. There are those who become reserves simply for the sake of being a reserve, and there are those who use it as a stepping stone. I fell into the second group.

For those who don't know, a reserve officer is a volunteer who goes through much of the same training as a regular police officer but does not serve in a full time capacity. Some reserves are paid, but the majority are not. The purpose of a reserve officer program is to have extra, trained personnel for large emergencies. Reserves work special events, large scenes, and other major incidents, as well as riding on normal patrol.

Some reserves will become reserves with no intention of going further than that. I have seen reserves who served for ten or twenty years, and were perfectly happy doing so. These people are truly a benefit to any police department, because they will likely be a part of the program for a long time, building experience throughout their tenure.

The second group of reserves are those who become reserves with the intent to become a full time police officer. These reserves learn from their experiences, and apply that knowledge toward becoming a full time sworn police officer.

Neither group is any more, or any less dedicated than the other. Both types of reserve officer are invaluable to their departments.

I learned a lot during my tenure as a reserve officer. The training and experience gained during that time made life a whole lot easier during the academy and the field training program.

To anyone who is considering a career in law enforcement, the reserve program is an incredible tool you can use to get yourself ready for your future. It can, and has for some people, also convince you that you really aren't cut out for the job before you or your department waste money and time putting you through the academy.

Reserves are trained peace officers. Most reserves have dedicated their own time and money to obtaining the required training and certification to become reserve officers. As such, it really pisses me off when I see officers giving a ration of shit to reserves, simply because they are reserves.

Believe me, there are full time, paid officers who need that attention much more than most of our competent reserves.

I, for one, appreciate our reserve officers. And not just because I used to be one.


Area Trace No Search said...

Amen - that's the way I feel about our equivalent, Special Constables.

When it comes down to it, if the brown stuff hits the cooling device I want back up ASAP, and don't care if that backup gets paid or only works weekends.

USAincognito said...

Amen!!! Without the Reserve Officers, there are times when calls would go unanswered as everyone else was tied up. And I have noticed, it is the Reserve Officers that sometimes work the hardest when on shift because they paid for everything (training, equipmentm, etc.).

Illinois Guy said...

Most of our departments have done away with their reserve programs, only two still have it.. and it's something that I would be interested in.. I really should ask one of the guys on the department but at this time I wouldn't be eligible to get on board anyhow..

Just a question though, when you became a reserve did you go through the actual Police Academy or did you go to classes?

PC Michael Pinkstone said...

Agreed - our 'special constables', not really any different to reserves, do a darn good job and I work alongside some excellent ones. What is the purpose of giving them grief when they wear the same uniform and deal with the same stuff? It's bad form.

TheBronze said...

IG, in Kalifornia there are three different levels of reserves, but most departments only use the top two levels and the majority of those only use the top level (Level I). To be a Level I you have to have been through the full Basic Academy.

Other states are probably different.

Officer "Smith" said...

When I became a reserve POST had just changed the rules. I went through the first three of four classes to become a Level II reserve.

A Level II reserve can work under supervision, but cannot patrol alone for the most part. Most of our reserves are Level II, and they are quite useful for holding outer perimeter positions (keeping other people from entering a crime scene), directing traffic or guarding evidence. That's what I usually ended up doing on call-outs.

Level II reserves can do directed patrol (bicycle patrol in a specific area, special events, etc.) unsupervised.

Most of the time, though, they just come out and ride with us on patrol, to make a sort of two man unit. It's nice because it gives the solo officer some company and makes the shift pass faster.

Kojak said...

Hey Bro,
I couldn't agree more! I also started as a reserve and the experience was invaluable. Please be safe out there and if you don't wear a vest everyday you better start!!!! I have faith that you do!