I’m asked this question often since people know that I am one. I’ve learned that many have never heard of a reserve deputy and wonder what exactly we are and do. After all, I wear the uniform of a regular deputy along with having on a duty belt, firearm, extra magazines, and handcuffs. I look like an officer, so I’m often asked if I’ve quit preaching. No, I haven’t.
When I partook in Leadership Murray through the Chamber of Commerce, we had as a requirement of that program to participate in a police ride-along. I rode along with a deputy from the Sheriff’s Office in Calloway County. As I was with him for a few hours, we had time to talk, and I was able to ask questions. When he learned that I was a minister, he informed me that one of the other deputies was a minister too. I wondered how this other guy was able to be a deputy and minister, thinking that he did both on a full-time basis. “He’s a reserve deputy,” I was told. “What’s that,” I asked.
Mostly, a reserve unit is one that many law enforcement agencies have and, therefore, it isn’t something relatively new. As a reserve, our primary objective is to back-up the road units however we may and are directed. Given the confines of budgets and the needs of policing, there are some functions which actually are essential but in the grander scheme can divert road units from more important duties. That’s where we can fit in. We assist by taking on tasks and performing duties that warrant policing so that the road units are able to do things of a higher priority.
Our work isn’t merely window-dressing. We are trained and must qualify with our firearms as every officer does. We participate in in-house training on tactics and procedures, the likes of which we’re not permitted to discuss. I won’t pretend for a moment that we reserves are on par with the road units who do this day in and day out, but we aren’t also a bunch of Barney Fifes. We are sworn in by the Judge Executive of the county at the Sheriff’s pleasure. Anytime the Sheriff deems it necessary, he may rescind our commission thus removing our status as sworn law-enforcement officers. Therefore, we serve at his pleasure. We are able to ride along with the road units at our leisure and receive more on-the-job training. Those with whom we ride supervise us while we’re with them. We have a goal of logging 100 hours per year, which doesn’t sound like much but since we all have full-time jobs, it can be. Some of our reserves are retired, some are preachers like me, others are either doctors or nurses. Reserves come from all different walks of life.
One recent duty I and other reserves performed were to be on-hand the first day of school. We had reserve units at our elementary schools for a period, but ranked officers showed up at each school to check in with us, so we weren’t merely left to our own devices. It’s important that we support our Sheriff and do the work that is needed. I’ve been present at the school, at the county fair, and have ridden along with road units. I’ve attended training and ran errands to not bog down the road units. I receive no compensation for the time I put in, and actually, if anything, have spent some of my own money to be a reserve thus to prove my desire to want to serve my community. This is why we do it—to help. We love our community and are thankful for the opportunity to serve it with the hopes of contributing to the good of it.