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Reserve police to prepare for unpaid patrols

The Metropolitan Police Department has launched a reserve police officer program to help supplement officer manpower .

The program will train residents to work as unpaid reserve officers alongside full-time officers .

Each reserve officer will be required to volunteer a minimum of two patrol shifts each month and attend periodic training.

The reserve officers will be assigned to an area and shift based on the need of the department and availability. Once an applicant passes a background check, he must successfully complete 420 hours of the Reserve Police Officer Academy and 200 hours of a field training program.

Department public information officer Jose Hernandez said the program is substantially different from the existing Volunteers in Police Service Citizen’s Patrol.

“It’s the exact same training we teach in the academy with the exception of some of the things like emergency vehicle operation, so they won’t be put through that training,” Hernandez said.

Full-time officers typically go through six months of academy training, he added.

Hernandez said it is not uncommon for police forces to have reserve programs .

“Right now, the reserve officer program is going to allow us to put more officers on the street,” he said.

He said new officers always have a learning curve when joining a force, but because volunteer reserve officers are required to work only two shifts a month, it will take them much longer to adjust. Hernandez said that is why the reserve officers will not be permitted to patrol without a full-time officer .

John Glenn of the Boulder City Police Department said his department’s reserve officers can patrol on their own. Boulder City has six part-time reserve officers, fewer than some years, and is in the process of hiring six new officers, he said.

Most of the Boulder City department’s 32 full-time officers came from the part-time program, Glenn said. But Boulder City’s part-time reserve officers earn $14.84 per hour . Part-time officers are restricted by the number of hours they can work annually so that benefits do not kick in .

Like Las Vegas and North Last Vegas, Boulder City also has a citizen, unpaid, non commissioned volunteer program limited to clerical work, monitoring the community and assisting at major crash scenes and fires, Glenn said.

While the Metropolitan Police Department citizens patrol unit has drawn a variety of age groups, Hernandez said many participants are retirees. The reserve force, however, is more likely to appeal to people looking to join the police department full time, he said.

“People are looking to join the police department, and given our hiring freeze right now, they can’t,” he said.

The reserve force could give an advantage for someone hoping to join the force full time in the future . Future applicants from the reserve force would still be required to join the academy and take part in training, but it could be easier for them because their extensive background checks have already been conducted.

Hernandez said the department hopes to have an academy in place in August for training the reserve force , with another planned next year.

For more information on the program, visit
tinyurl.com/reservepolice.

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