Clarksville Police using 'reserve officers' to increase manpower
CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- The Clarksville Police department is nearly doubling its manpower at no extra cost to tax payers. The department uses reserve officers. They're part-time and don't get paid, but when they hit the streets they have full police powers.
Matthew Bauer is one of them. He works about 30 hours a month for the Clarksville Police Department, but he's not technically a sworn officer.
"I've been with the Clarksville reserve program for five years," says Bauer.
Bauer is one of about two-dozen reserves with the department, he has all of the tools -- including a gun and a badge -- but he's a volunteer.
"Being a volunteer is the best first step to becoming a full-time officer," Bauer said.
Being a volunteer comes with full police powers and a lot of responsibility.
That's why the reserves go through intense training and very real-life, dangerous simulated situations.
None of the reserves have had to use deadly force, but in Clarksville's heavy business district, they come in handy -- especially with shoplifters.
"We can go from 22-thousand to 65-thousand, you know, in an hours time," said Chief Mark Palmer, Clarksville Police Department. "And you get the big, major chains like WalMart and some of our lumber stores like Lowe's, home depot, they can produce anywhere from 10 to 15 shoplifters a day, just on their own."
The program has been around for years, chief palmer admits they've had to say good-bye to several reserves over the years.
"We've had some that come in here and we've realized, you know, this person is a liability factor or you know, power issue -- whatever it may be and we've removed 'em from the program," Palmer said.
But they've also been able to hire from within.
"Probably the last five we have hired came from our reserve program," he said.
It is about to happen again.
"It has been a long five years," said Bauer.
It has been a long time coming, but Bauer says his time as a reserve will pay off when he is sworn in as a full-time officer next week.
"I don't think there is any better hand on or any college experience that can get you ready for the job like the reserve program does."
If and when the reserves are hired in as full time, they go through a 16-week police academy. That is standard for all Indiana law enforcement.
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