PoliceOne Special ContributorsBecome a Cop
with PoliceOne Special Contributors

How to be a reserve police officer

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

A reserve police 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. Police departments, sheriff’s departments and state police departments all have reserve police officers.

A reserve police 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 police official, but in other instances they have very limited duties and authority. In some departments, the reserve police 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 police 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 police 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 police officer is a retired police-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 police training in preparation to perform their duties as a reserve police officer.

As noted above, the duties of a reserve police officer varies according to the individual department. If fully authorized to perform regular police 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.

In regards to police salaries - if a reserve police 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 police officer, if only to make a positive contribution to one’s community.




About the author

"Become a Cop" articles are intended to educate individuals interested in law enforcement careers about what it takes to join the force. These articles are written by PoliceOne staff members and PoliceOne contributors, and cover a wide range of topics from the basics on the different types of law enforcement careers to how to prepare for the police recruitment interview. If there's a topic you'd like to see covered, or are interested in writing for Become a Cop, email editor@policeone.com.
Back to previous page