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What is a reserve officer?

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  • What is a reserve officer?

    Hello, I noticed in the paper that there is an opening for a Reserve police officer in my city. What exactly do they do? Are they basically a part time Officer that is on-call? I am assuming that the person would have already gone through the Police Academy correct?

    The ad in the paper says the person gets paid $6.45 and has to purchase their own uniforms and gear. I want to get my foot in the door (but haven't gone through the Academy yet).

    Input? I need some more info. I'm confused.
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  • #2
    The term reserve officer varies by state. Generally a reserve officer is a volunteer who goes to an abbreviated academy to learn many of the same things that sworn officers do. They are used for things like crowd control and directing traffic for parades and things of that nature. Many departments allow their reserves to ride with sworn officers on patrol as long as they fulfill a certain obligation to the department. It is usually 1 shift a month or something like that.
    In some states Reserves derive their police powers from the sworn officer that they ride with. In states such as California some reserves are allowed to go on patrol and handle calls by themselves after they have a certain amount of time and training. NYPD has what they call Auxilliary Police officers who are given a uniform and squad car and told to drive around and be seen and report any crimes they see. In NYC these poor guys aren't even armed. I suggest you contact your local PD and see what their requirements are. I was a reserve for about a year and a half.
    "Valor would cease to be a virtue, if there were no injustice." -Agesilaus the Great

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    • #3
      It sounds like it is a part-time position where you live, with pay being minimum wage, Chances are the training is minimal.
      Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
      Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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      • #4
        Here it is strickly unpaid volunteer and they must be fully qualified and go the rough the complete academy within a year of appointment.

        As you can imagine, reserves arfe hard to come by in Wyoming.
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        • #5
          Here reserve officers are fully qualified law enforcment officers. They are no different from full time officers, except they don't work full time. Sometimes they are paid, and sometimes they are not. Pay is NEVER minimum wage though, usually $15-$20 per hour.

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          • #6
            Don't worry about getting your foot in the door. If you want to be a cop, go fulltime.
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            • #7
              Its like a volunteer firefighter, but for police... no pay, do the same job, must have the same certs/training
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              • #8
                Thanks for the replies. I do want to be a full time Officer. I have heard from other people that being a reserve officer would increase my chances of getting into a PD full time... It makes sense. Its like an IT internship I guess?

                But vacop4274 says different?

                If you have to go through the 520 hour Academy I might as well apply for the full time position instead (when out of the Academy of coruse.)
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                • #9
                  In my city it is the same as full time employment just not full time and no pay. You are still a sworn officer and carry out all the same duties as the full timers.The only way to get paid is to work events on the side but of course full timers get first dibs.You must have all the same training and certs, go through the same background check. In this part it is a good way to get your foot in the door due to the slow turnover of the smaller departments. Whatever you deside to do good luck

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                  • #10
                    Just to be clear, I did not mean to imply that the training is minimal in most states. It certainly is not in California, but I do know of some states that have few requirements. The only way to find out is to call the police department, because even in states that do not have minimums set by law, police departments typically provide their own training academy for reserves, and that training varies from department to department.
                    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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                    • #11
                      It varies greatly. I was a Level 1 Reserve in CA which meant I had the same training and same powers (24 hours) as a full-time officer. I got paid entry level patrol pay and most of our full-timers came from the Reserve ranks. You could work any position and filled in for vactaion, sick, etc.

                      In Texas it's the same, except no pay (for the most part). You have the same training requirements, same licensing and ongoing training requirements as a full-time. There is no differentiation between full-time and Reserve when it comes to licensing. As far as what you can do, that varies by department. Some departments you work the same as a full-time and others you are limited to a backup role.

                      My brother was a reserve in Oklahoma for several years and it's much less stringent there. You can be sworn in and go to work, you just have to attend a reserve academy in a certain amount of time. They allow you the same powers as a full-time officer while on-duty and most towns allow you to work in a solo patrol position.

                      Bottom line, it varies greatly from state to state and town to town.
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                      Last edited by dbphotos; 10-10-2008, 01:24 AM.
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                      • #12
                        Isn't Shaq a reserve police officer? I wonder who makes his uniforms! He's ginormous.

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                        • #13
                          I am a reserve deputy here in Kansas. Training for reserves is the same as the training for the detention deputies in my county. We are obligated to work 16 hours a month, though I work far more than that. We have been asked to work in the detention center at least a couple of times a month, and also we work special events, and assist on warrants at times. We are unpaid, and I had to purchase all of the equipment (duty belt, leather, badge, boots, firearm, OC spray, etc.) so it is not cheap to get into. I have spent probably around $1000 in gear so far. I have yet to purchase a bullet resistant vest, but they are expensive, and it will take me a little while to afford it.

                          I really enjoy the experience so far, and there are some truly knowledgeable people who are reserve deputies here. Since we are unpaid, after 1 year of service, we are allowed to work "off-duty" security details that pay minimum $30 an hour.
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                          • #14
                            Its a cop who's real job makes him more money than being a full-time cop...
                            ...Did you call the Boys in Blue or the Man in Tan?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jb5722
                              you should contact some of the organizations that pay for vests for officers who have to purchase their own. a vest is not something i would want to go without.

                              +1

                              A vest should not be an option. A gun and a vest go hand in hand. I can't believe that any agency would not budget for vests for people who are nice enough to volunteer to protect them. You can get a good vest for $600 which is a small price to pay to save your life. Go to some of the area businesses and ask them to donate $ for vests for your Reserve unit - get aggressive with the Dept. so they see the importance of providing this vital piece of equipment.

                              Even check eBay for slightly used vests, which can be had for less than $300. Better than no vest at all. Here's a vest on eBay.

                              I wore a vest starting in 1985 when they were thick and uncomfortable, they are a breeze to wear now.
                              Last edited by dbphotos; 10-10-2008, 04:03 PM.
                              David Bailey Photography | Bailey Tactical

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                              "Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor satan shudders and says oh hell he's awake!"

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