Sheriff’s reserves are a valuable resource to the department

Published 11:22 pm Wednesday, December 24, 2008

They go on patrol and help with community functions but they don’t get paid for their work — they are “reserve” deputies for the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department, volunteers who give time and money to help enforce the law.

The Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department reserve deputies are comprised of volunteers who donate their time and some of their money to ensure the county is a safer place.

Capt. Kelvin Stanford said the reserve force was established earlier this year, shortly after Sheriff David Allison took office, as a way for the community to become involved with the department. Currently there are 18 members of the reserves, all trained in-house.

Participation in the department’s reserve force has been known to be a way to gain employment at the Sheriff’s Department, either in corrections or patrol, Stanford said.

“It’s been a very good avenue for them to get into full-time employment in the Sheriff’s Department,” Stanford said.

Reserve officers typically ride with full-time deputies during patrol, and work parades, sporting events or other public events. They have their own rank tier and are people in the community who hold everyday jobs. Some are already employed in community jobs such as county fire service or dispatch and corrections with the Sheriff’s Department.

Reservist Sgt. David Johnson said once a member of the reserves has been fully trained, he or she can patrol on their own. Until that time they ride with a deputy and assist them on calls, which adds an element of safety. All of the reservists are certified to carry handguns, Johnson said.

There is also a child mentoring program in which the reservists participate where members will spend about an hour or two a week with a troubled child in the Poplarville school district, Johnson said.

After the first of the year Stanford said the department will hold more reserve training classes to get more people involved. There is already a pool of applicants waiting to be trained, but Stanford said the department is always looking for more volunteers. Applications can be downloaded at http://www.pearlrivercounty.net/pages/general.html and mailed back to the county at the P.O. Box listed on the application, or sent to the Sheriff’s Department at 171 Savannah Millard Rd., Poplarville, MS 39470.

Stanford said applicants can include a brief, typed resume and attach it to the application. When mailing in an application, applicants should put attention to the Sheriff’s Department Correction Center on the envelope.

Applicants should know that the equipment, the uniform and formal training will in most cases be paid for by the applicant. Purchasing the necessary equipment can cost as much as $600, including the weapon, said reservist Allan Duca.