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And here are the answers to your frequently asked questions on police reserve officers...

I’m going to answer some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on this page of Since the way reserve and auxiliary officers are recruited, trained, certified, uniformed, armed, and deployed varies greatly in different areas, most of the answers will be generalized unless I give it more specificity.  I’ve been working with this topic for years and get these questions fairly often.

  1. What is a police reserve officer? A police reserve officer is defined by me as a person, usually uniformed, who appears to the public to have limited or full police powers to investigate crimes, preserve public peace, and make arrests.  Not all reserve type officers have all of those powers.  They can be volunteer or part-time paid for their services.
  2. What other names do reserves go by? Reserves can be called a number of things (though hopefully not some choice words by an arrested person in the back seat of a police car).  They may be known as Reserve, Auxiliary, Special, Supernumerary, Intermittent, and a host of other law enforcement sounding titles.  What is really important, though, is how they are screened, trained, equipped, and deployed.  And of course, how they are treated.
  3. Do police reserve officers have a badge and gun?  They all have badges and almost all are trained and authorized to carry firearms at least on duty.  Many have the same training and authority as a full-time law enforcer and carry a gun 24 hours a day.  Much of this depends where they are.

    Police reserve officers often get firearms training at the Basic Law Enforcement Academy

  4. Does their uniform and badge say reserve or auxiliary on it?  Again, depending where the non-full-timer is, he or she may have designations on them that identify their status.  Some agencies will do minimal distinction, some will differentiate the reserves from the full-time officers markedly, while others will have them all appear identical to the salaried officers.
  5. What kind of training do police reserve officers go through?  Reserves in many cases have to go through the same state certified basic law enforcement officer academies as their full-time counterparts.  While other areas go through shorter, modified training.  It depends what their state and local mandates are.  Their curriccullum is the standard fare of firearms, defensive tactics, criminal and constitutional law, patrol, community relations, first aid, etc.  And of course they have the joy of running as a class in the Academy.  Can ya feel the burn?

    Police reserve officer running in the Police Academy

  6. Does being a reserve officer give you an advantantage in getting a police job?  Absolutely.  While a hiring police department or sheriff’s office may not give additonal points for police reserve service (and many do), there is no question that the training, experience, and connections made while serving as a reservists can only help you to get a police job.  It helped me to later become a fulltimer and a police chief.  And let’s look at it this way- if you were a police chief or sheriff, who would you want to take a chance on: the guy or gal that is known and has a proven track record in uniform, or the person that just walks in off the street and wants a job?

I hope this answers many of your questions.  Check back often for more FAQ.  And don’t be shy.  Go ahead and leave comments or questions, as well as reading the other pages and posts in

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2 Responses to "FAQ"

  1. john says:

    Can you be deputized before certification?

    1. John:

      It depends on your state’s regulations and local preferences. In some states, reserves (and even some full-timers) have up to one year to pass the full academy requirements. That seems to be particularly the case with some states requirements for deputy sheriffs. That said, however, with higher liability concerns these days, those states are becoming fewer and further between. Most states require that officers be fully trained within their category’s fullr equirements (for some states that may mean full state certification standards) prior to be deputized and exercising law enorcement authority of investigation and arrests. I hope that helps you, John. Any other questions, just let me know.
      — Dr. Richard Weinblatt

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