Reserve/Auxiliary/Volunteer/Pubic Safety Officers weigh in!

This is a discussion on Reserve/Auxiliary/Volunteer/Pubic Safety Officers weigh in! within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; This is a question mostly for non-paid volunteer type officers but full time LEO's please feel free to weigh in you thoughts as well. I'm ...

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Thread: Reserve/Auxiliary/Volunteer/Pubic Safety Officers weigh in!

  1. #1
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    Reserve/Auxiliary/Volunteer/Pubic Safety Officers weigh in!

    This is a question mostly for non-paid volunteer type officers but full time LEO's please feel free to weigh in you thoughts as well.

    I'm seriously considering applying for my local volunteer force and would love to hear when did you get your calling? What made you decide? How has your experience been so far?

    I guess at 38 my calling has come late. I've always been interested in law and law enforcement but never really considered it as a career when younger. I went into the computer field now specializing in cyber-security and have worked with some LEA's a number of times for certain situations. And that's about all I can say about that. ;)

    It wasn't until a year or so ago that I learned there is a volunteer local force in my county. What actually made me investigate the option was seeing a volunteer public safety officer on one of the reality shows that was assisting regular officers with some traffic duty and similar tasks to free the officer up for more important calls. This intrigued me as I would be helping the community and the officers both things which I care about and respect.

    Here in my county (Westchester, NY) we have what is called the Public Safety Emergency Force (PSEF). They are fully sworn Deputy Sheriffs with full police powers on-duty, but off-duty are just civilians and have no peace officer status. (aside: I'm not sure how that relates to HR218) They are issued uniforms, body armor and a firearm and are only responsible for purchasing handcuffs/case, flashlight, and shoes.

    AFIAK requirements are pretty much the same for a regular officer in regards to the testing, interviews and background checks. PSEF members attend two weeks at peace officer training at the academy and will also train once a month between October and May.

    Typical duties would consist of assistance, upon request, to town, village and city police departments with regard to traffic and crowd control at special events such as parades, street fairs and fireworks celebrations. In the past they have also assisted in hurricanes, blackouts, presidential & papal visits. I've also read elsewhere that you help with DWI checkpoints and will/may assist a patrol officer once a month.

    According to the website they do about 85 details a year and you are encouraged to attend as many as possible, however I'm not sure what the expectations are. Also the county is pretty big so I'm not sure if I'd be expected to do things county wide or try and stay in my neck of the woods where I am more familiar with the people and surroundings. I'd also try and see if I could volunteer some time with their digital evidence section since that is part of what I do in my day job.

    The more I think about it (and I think about it a lot) the more I want to apply, but I'd like to hear your experiences first. I'm also single with no responsibilities other than my day job and my dogs so other than needing to feed and walk my dogs I have the time to volunteer. I'm confident I could pass all the tests right now with exception of the physical. I'm not terribly out of shape but there is no way I can run the 1.5 miles in under 13mins, but give me a few months and it shouldn't be a problem.

    I also want to do some ride alongs first to get a better feel for what it's like and make sure I'm not living in a fantasy world poisoned by what you see on tv.

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    Distinguished Member Array ArmyCop's Avatar
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    I was a Telecommunications systems analyst and had prior military – decided after being out for several years to go into the Army National Guard (Weekend Warrior). Talked to a recruiter – he assumed I’d want to enlist in same MOS as what I was already doing. He was a bit surprised when I told him part of my going back was for a change in my normal routine – I wanted to be an MP. He told me the Army MP’s were Combat MP’s just to be sure I knew what I was getting into & I was fine with that.
    At 40 years old I had to go through the Military Police Academy (which I did and really liked) then continued duty with the others in my unit (1165th MP Company). I started this in 1999.
    As I met and made friends in the unit I found many to be Police Officers in their daily jobs. I decided to join my local city’s Police Auxiliary as a Reserve Police Officer which turned out to be a very rewarding experience.
    I had to take a leave of absence from the Reserve Police when my unit (1165th MP Company) got deployed to OIF Iraq.
    Long story – too much to go into here – but – after approx 10 years with the Police Reserves I had an answer to prayer and am now a full time Federal Police Officer (had to go to ANOTHER Police Academy at 55 years old).
    Good luck, God Bless and GO FOR IT!!!!
    For God, Family and Country!

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    Great story, thanks for sharing.

    While I like my current job and am not itching to leave I've always dreamed of being part of the FBI Cyber Crime Task Force or the US Marshals Electronic Surveillance Unit. Who knows, maybe reserve officer is the first part of that journey.

  5. #4
    Distinguished Member Array ArmyCop's Avatar
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    It's good to have a diverse background of experience behind you as you never know what life will deal you or what opportunities the future holds for you.
    For God, Family and Country!

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    Member Array JAG45's Avatar
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    fk9dad, there has been several threads about this. Check with several departments as each can be very different. Here the local PD pays for all gear but boots, the SO does not pay any gear or uniform, both pick up the cost for school if you go through their hireing process. Both myself and older friend, I talk about in class with me, have now been promoted to CPL's and one of us will take over the reserve program when the SGT retires.

    I will repete what I said from a couple earlier posts below:

    I have told the story elsewhere on this board. I received my national police instructor certification back in the 80’s and worked as a trainer for several departments (always had another full time job). I semi-retired and moved back home to take care of my mom and dad, after they passed, I was asked by a couple of local officers to join the local PD reserve program…. That made me about 55 at the time. I and one gentleman who just turned 60 were in the certification class for part-time officers. We had the highest overall scores in the class. I was tied for the highest PT scores and posted the highest firearm scores in the class. My older friend was always in the top 50%. We were picked up by the same local department and are the two most called on officers when they need extra help.

    I am the only reserve officer the department has, that has not had a complaint filed against him with more that has more than 3 years in-service. I won the county wide LEO shootout the first year I got to compete, and have been asked to go full time on more than once occasion. Age is not a restriction in a lot of places, it is your ability that counts, and your maturity can be highly valued. Smaller departments are always looking for a good
    officer.

    I found out last weekend the even at this advance age and with 45 pounds of gear I can still out run most 14 and 15 year olds in a foot race for 150 yards if I do not have to spot them more than about 20 yards.


    I say go for it. Talk with several local departments, and see about joining the reserve program. In my department about 85% of the new hires come from their reserve program. The department really likes the program it gives them a year or so the watch you work with the different officers, and weeds any bad applicants who make it through the screening process.

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    Thanks for the encouragement JAG45.

    I had done a search and read some of the old posts but I think the last one was almost a year ago and didn't want to bump the thread and figured I'd start my own to see if there were any new experiences.

    I have looked at the local depts... of the 5 surrounding towns, there are 3 depts and 2 are only part time. When they aren't staffed they are either covered by county or state when not staffed and have no reserves of their own from what I was told. I have spoken with an officer of the full time dept that covers 3 of the towns and they don't have any volunteers of their own, they rely on county when needing extra bodies. So it seems county is the way to go.

  8. #7
    Member Array kdydak's Avatar
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    I looked into this in my county (as I have some interest) and it is a long process. You basically have to do everything you normally would to become a full time police officer including a 660+ hour training required by TCLEOSE. The upside is that you are considered a sworn police officer.

    TCSO - Reserves - How To Join

    O well for now I guess it is another good excuse to start working on getting myself into shape.

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    Member Array gmark340's Avatar
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    If you have the interest and the time, go for it. The near-term downside is that you get some extra training, find out it's not what you hoped it would be, and don't do it. However, I have heard from many people that it's not what we've done that we eventually regret, but what we don't do, so don't let an opportunity pass you by. I was in a similar situation in that I was working, but the market was slow so I had some time. I also received some encouragement from friends so I bit the bullet and went through the full academy course (three months) and was hired on as a reserve with a city department. One of the guys who encouraged me became my field training officer and, even though he is half my age, I'm learning a lot from him. Because my agency is out of state (due to age restrictions in my home state), I don't get out as often as I would like. When I am there, I am on the duty roster and patrol just as every other officer, except I have my FTO with me. I have read the LEOSA definition of "certified law enforcement officer" and believe that it applies in my case so that has been a plus. I enjoy being a reserve officer and only wish I could get out more.

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    Member Array JAG45's Avatar
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    fk9dad, carrying on with what g340, said. We are certified as a reserve/part-time officer and sworn same as any full time officer and can work paid up to 20 hours a week and are covered per LEOSA. As I said what you can do is per each department guidelines within state rules. After our cert class we ride with a fulltime officer or a reserve CPL or SGT for one year then you can get a review and can be authorized to ride by your self. So now I can come in anytime, check in with the shift supervisor and pick up a car if one is available and hit the street for as long as I want. We are also called in for prisoner transport, court duty or patrol if the department is running short handed for any reason.

  11. #10
    Distinguished Member Array Madcap_Magician's Avatar
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    If you're a pubic safety officer, I don't want you anywhere near me.

  12. #11
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    Thank you gents for the encouragement. It's definitely something I'm interested in and have the time to do. That's a great saying about regreting what we don't do. For years I wanted to volunteer with an animal shelter or rescue of some sort and then 7 years ago I finally did. What a rewarding experience and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I've met some great people, helped a lot of dogs and have adopted 3 of my own. It's a shame I actually didn't do it sooner.

    I also just sent a request to them for more information and an application. From what I've been reading I may have missed recruitment for this year but that gives me time to prepare for next year. I also read that it's 40hrs of peace officer training (nights for 2 weeks) and then 48hrs of firearm training (not sure of duration). I'll report back when I get more details on the program in regards to expectations and training. Exciting!

  13. #12
    Distinguished Member Array JerryM's Avatar
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    Just be sure you are willing and able to put your life on the line if it becomes necessary. Consider that if you are married, and/or children. It is one thing if you are a career officer, but another if you are not and do not have to do it.

    I have a best friend who was a "Reserve" officer for maybe 20 years or so. He did find that the State Police did not back him up when he arrested three guys at a time when his partner was not in the immediate vicinity. His authority was questioned, and the magistrate judge did not know much about his authority and the three got off.

    Be sure you understand what the requirements are, and who pays for the training and insurance.

    Regards,
    Jerry

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    38. That sounds so young. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

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    I received an email back a few days ago with the number of the Sgt. I needed to call. I just spoke with him and of course today was the deadline for applications. Just my freaking luck. So now I need to wait until the fall when they open recruitment again. :(

    He was able to answer my other questions about time & fitness requirements as well as training. Just makes me want to apply even more.

    Color me disappointed.

  16. #15
    Senior Member Array WC145's Avatar
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    If you're really interested, don't give up. Keep trying and checking around to see what's available, you never know when something will come up. I always wanted to be in LE and started as a SP in the Air Force waaaayyy back in the early 80's then moved on to other jobs after my tour, eventually going to respiratory therapy school in 1991. After moving to Maine in 2000 I had extra time on my hands since I work 3 12hr shifts at the hospital. Since I had the spare time I took a side job as the ACO for he town I lived in as a way to become more involved in the community. Long story short, that eventually led to becoming a Sheriff's Deputy, Municipal Shellfish Conservation Warden, Harbormaster, and town Constable.

    I've been with the town where I work for 6 years now and intend to stay with them as long as I can, I love my job. I am a sworn officer and the only LEO in my town. My harbor, conservation, and constable duties have all been rolled into one job/title - Marine Resource Officer. I control our harbor and town landing, patrol all the coastal waters and islands of the town, as well as the mudflats (clamming is a big resource here) and coastline. I'm also responsible for all of the policies, paperwork, and reports that comes with being a "law enforcement agency" here in Maine.

    Because the County S.O. is the largest law enforcement agency in the area and has range masters and instructors, guys like me and those working for small PD's train and qualify with them. State continuing education requirements for maintaining LEO certification are done online. The town I work for pays for all of my training and reimburses me for my unifoms, equipment, and expenses (except weapons, I provide my own). Being the only person doing the job, I have a lot of autonomy, I set my own hours, which revolve around the tide to a great degree. I spend most of my time on or near the water, working mostly with clam diggers and fisherman, but also recreational boaters, property owners, etc.

    Anyway, like I said, you never know what will come up and where it will take you. I always regretted not staying in LE after the Air Force, even though I ended up with a good career in respiratory therapy. I got lucky and got another shot at LE while still being able to keep my hospital job. Yes, between the two jobs, I work a lot of hours. But it hardly feels like work when I'm out patrolling some of the most beautiful shoreline Maine has to offer, while doing a job that has real, positive impact on the town and people I work for. I'm 47 now and it's the best job I've ever had.
    Never forget. Never forgive.

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