SPARKS — The city’s police department is restoring its reserve officer program in order to combat budget cuts and layoffs as the economic recovery teeters on the brink of a double-dip recession.
“We had a reserve officer program a long time ago,” Police Chief Steve Keefer told the City Council recently during a presentation on the 2.0 version of the program.
The original program was scratched in the early 2000s because of dwindling numbers of enrollees.
Police officials are hoping to recruit 10 reserve officers in the initial phase of the re-launch, with a goal of enlisting 20 reserve officers in the next 2 years.
“I think this is a very positive step,” Councilman Ron Schmitt said, adding that when the economy does pick-up, the reserve officer program could provide a pool for new hires.
The reserve officers will assist patrol officers in their duties and will also serve in times of emergency and disaster relief. They will be under the supervision of full-time officers at all times, Keefer said.
These reserve positions are entirely voluntary, with no salary or uniform allowance.
But that doesn’t mean the program is cost-free.
Costs include full uniform, equipment, radio and pre-placement psychological testing, which amounts to $5,892 per reserve officer or $58,920 for 10 officers.
The funding for these costs comes directly from the police department’s forfeiture account. No general fund monies will be spent.
Additional annual costs total $14,373 and include liability insurance, workers’ compensation coverage, testing and physical exams.
Basic qualifications to apply include being at least 21 years of age, having a high school diploma or GED equivalent, a valid Nevada driver’s license and no criminal history save misdemeanor traffic violations.
The testing process to get accepted to the program includes an oral interview, writing skills test, physical agility test, a psychological and medical exam and a polygraph screening.
Furthermore, recruits will have to complete 216 hours of field training before being accepted to the program.
“It’s a good response” to the economy, Mayor Geno Martini said.