My local county has a reserve deputy program. For those that are full time LEO's, how do the reservists fit in and what is your opinion of them? I was in the Marines for six years and I miss the service and contribution from my time in the military.
Reserves are an important part of the LE community........extra hands, eyes and minds make things easier for the full-timers, reservists can handle the mundane stuff (parades, traffic control, etc) and leave the heavy lifting to those better qualified. Being able to have a partner in a somewhat understaffed agency can make a lot of difference. With proper training (and there is NEVER enough training) they can do nearly anything the rank-and-file guys do.
Just like (civilian) dispatchers, they may not be front-liners, but they are still a valuable part of the team. 8)
That's how I started in LE in the late 70s. Wise agencies use a reserve component to augment work force, but also as a recruiting tool - you get to see what 'the job' REALLY is like, and they get a chance to look YOU over as a potential officer in real circumstances. It's a win-win, and there are too few in this world.
There will always be those few in full-time LE that turn up their noses at reserves; they will always be glad for the help when it's needed, though !
I'm a big supporter of our Reserve Officer program. Our Reserve officers in general are a well trained group, with considerable field experience over the years. There's some good natured bantering between the reserves and the regulars - "my hobby is your job" and that sort of thing. Kind of cool actually.
Our reserves wear the same uniform, drive the same patrol cars, have the same arrest and investigative powers... When I've got a reserve riding with me and we roll up to a fight call, the public sees two officers step from the car, not one officer and a reserve. Two cars, four officers, it can be a real game-changer in a rough situation.
I do all the firearms training for our reserves. Will have a group of them out at the range tomorrow morning, and I expect some will shoot better than most of my regulars, some will shoot worse. We'll all learn something, and we'll all enjoy the experience.
Quite a few of our reserves have gone on to full time careers in law enforcement. Others do it simply because they like giving something back to the community. Either motivation works just fine for me.
I'd say jump on it if you can. The academy and subsequent training can be quite a time committment.
many cops get their start in L/E by being a reserve=volunteer, as did I. I remember in the 1980's I worked 36 hours over July 4th holiday so other full timers could have the holiday weekend off. That was then, and things were different. After working the job 25 years I cannot believe I did it for free. I guess time on the job changes a person but in all seriousness the job is a huge risk to your mental health (stressfull), and physical safety. I would tell anyone to think long and hard about taking on that challenge as a volunteer, especially if the position will require you to perform a patrol function just like any other full timer. I have always felt that being a cop is not just a job, but a "calling" for lack of better words. The pay isn't all that great, the hours, weekends, holidays, etc. suck, and the stress from civilian scrutiny and second guessing and back seat quarterbacking can be a miserable experience. The job is 99.9 percent paperwork, and .1 percent chasing, fighting, shooting, driving fast, bleeding, etc. (you know.....all the "exciting" stuff you see on Cops).
with that said, I respect and aplaud anyone willing to stand between the sheep and the wolves. If you make the decision, train hard, STAY IN GOOD PHYSICAL CONDITION !!!, and stay safe.
It will depend a completely on how your particular department trains, and utilizes their reserves. It can vary from reserves basically being seen as the same as any other sworn officer, and given responsibilities commensurate with your experience, to some places where they treat their reserves like explorer scouts, (or not as well).
I was lucky. The department I started as a reserve for, mandated training on par with the paid officers, had high standards, and utilized their reserves to the fullest. I worked a one man car in patrol, along with vice, narcotics, and gangs. Some of the most fun times of my life, and it prepared me well for the rest of my career. If I thought I could pass the physical, I'd go back and do it again.
Missouri changed their training requirements for reservists a couple years ago, mandating 640 hours of academy to receive accreditation, and a lot of reservists couldn't handle the time or expense required to meet that standard. As a result, many departments lost their entire reserve force, and are really hurting for manpower. What started out as a good idea to raise standards wound up hurting more departments than it helped.
Unintended consequences again. Be careful what you wish for.