Woodbury looking for reserve volunteer police officersVolunteering in Woodbury doesn’t have to stop at planting trees, wiping out invasive species or answering questions at Central Park.
By: Riham Feshir, Woodbury Bulletin
Volunteering in Woodbury doesn’t have to stop at planting trees, wiping out invasive species or answering questions at Central Park.
The city of Woodbury Public Safety Department is looking for volunteer police officers to patrol the streets on weekends.
The city typically has a “police reserve team” of about 15 officers who are trained in different aspects of the field including self-defense and safety, first aid, CPR and traffic control.
Sgt. Chris Murray, police liaison, said the program has been around for a number of years and it gives those interested in law enforcement some valuable experience.
“It’s a very dedicated group to volunteer their time on weekends,” he said. “It’s very noble.”
The group consists of some who are already involved in the law enforcement field and others on their way to joining the profession.
They work at least 10 hours per month and patrol the city in police vehicles on Friday and Saturday nights.
The city is currently looking for three to four officers to help the full-time team transfer prisoners to the Stillwater facility, patrol the parks and answer minor calls.
“Reserve officers don’t carry firearms,” Murray said. “They don’t have arrest powers. Typically they are kind of eyes and ears on the street.”
The officers go through training to handle handcuffs, CPR calls, traffic directions and self-defense, among other situations, he said.
They wear a uniform that looks similar to the sworn officers’ attire, but it’s differentiated with a cloth badge.
Murray said some of the reserve officers are considered for full-time employment once they’ve volunteered for some time.
“We have hired some reserves as police officers,” he said.
Officer Steve Hane, a full-time officer since 2001, started out in the reserves.
He said the experience gave him real-world exposure to working at the Woodbury Police Department while going to school for law enforcement.
“It gives you a good perspective on kind of what they do,” he said of police officers. “Fortunately, once I graduated, I applied here and I got hired.”
Reserve officers don’t make arrests, but keep an eye on the suspects until help arrives.
“They don’t per se arrest them but they do put handcuffs on somebody who’s already been arrested to take them to jail,” Murray said.
The application to join the current reserve team is due by Friday, May 18. Reserve officers must by at least 18 and meet other qualifications listed on the city’s website.
“It’s a great tool for the police department to be able to have that resource on a busy weekend night,” Murray said.