How to be a reserve law enforcement officer


First of all, before we talk about how to be a reserve law enforcement officer, let’s find out what that title means:

A reserve law enforcement officer (also known as an auxiliary officer) is either a volunteer or paid worker, depending on the circumstance and the department for which they work. They perform law enforcement duties in their community. Law enforcement departments, sheriff’s departments and state law enforcement departments all have reserve law enforcement officers. 

A reserve law enforcement officer’s requirements and duties vary significantly, depending on the venue and location of their service. Some have full powers of operation similar to a regular law enforcement official, but in other instances they have very limited duties and authority. In some departments, the reserve law enforcement are uniformed in the same way as regular law enforcement officers, but don’t carry weapons or make arrests. Their duties may only include doing office work, community relations, traffic control and issuing warrants and subpoenas. 
It’s common in beachside locations that have a huge increase in population in the summer months to hire a reserve law enforcement officer team on a seasonal basis to help with law enforcement. Also, reserve officers can serve at things such as state fairs, parades and other large events. 

Oftentimes, a reserve law enforcement officer is a law enforcement trainee who’s required to perform a certain number of hours in this capacity in order to complete training requirements. Sometimes, a reserve law enforcement officer is a retired law enforcement-person who just wants to give back to their community on a part-time basis. Other times, people who are thinking of a career in law enforcement use this as an opportunity to find out whether they are suited to the job. In this way, they don’t have to invest as much training and educational time to a career they aren’t sure about. They do, however have to participate in some law enforcement training in preparation to perform their duties as a reserve law enforcement officer. 

As noted above, the duties of a reserve law enforcement officer varies according to the individual department. If fully authorized to perform regular law enforcement duties, they have the following responsibilities:

• Responds to car accidents, medical emergencies, crime scenes, suspicious activities, altercations and requests for law enforcement assistance.

• Provides public assistance and encourages good relationships between the public and the police force.

• Administers first aid to injured persons.

• Performs interviews and takes written statements from crime victims, witnesses and suspects.

• Prepares and submits written reports regarding all of the above.

• Apprehends suspects and performs arrests and transportation to the required detention facility. Detaining suspects can involve car chases, pursuing suspects on foot and using physical force to subdue suspects, if necessary.

• Enforces traffic laws, issues citations, directs traffic and assists disabled vehicles.

• Investigates traffic accidents and gathers evidence.

• Responds to reports of child neglect and abuse and refers to the proper authorities. 

• Serves warrants, subpoenas, testifies in court, and councils with other law enforcement officials such as the District Attorney’s Office to provide assistance with case preparations.

If a reserve law enforcement officer is paid, it is most often done on a per diem basis and doesn’t include perks such as health insurance, or retirement benefits. There are, however many benefits to becoming a reserve law enforcement officer, if only to make a positive contribution to one’s community.



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