Trained, armed volunteers to join Chattanooga Police Department - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Trained, armed volunteers to join Chattanooga Police Department

Posted: Updated:
HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

At the request of community leaders, the Chattanooga Police Department is taking a step towards building stronger relationships between citizens and officers, with a new reserve officer program.

"Our community came to us and said we want you as a police department to build a way for people who felt like they have something to offer your police department; to participate even though they might not be full time police officers," said Chief Fred Fletcher, of the Chattanooga Police Department.

City council members approved $20,000 for the department to train about a dozen volunteers on the law and equipment, like armor and weapons.

The training course will require 130 to 180 hours to complete, and will mirror the same training full-time officers receive, but scaled back a bit.

The training course will require 130 to 180 hours to complete, and will mirror the same training full-time officers receive, but scaled back a bit.

The $20,000 budget will front the costs of each officer's uniform, body armor, duty weapons and equipment.

As the city host several big events, Fletcher hopes the program will make a huge difference when it comes to policing the community, by allowing officers to concentrate on criminal investigations and not event security.

"When you create a system like this that's scalable then you have those resources that can do things like community events which as you see over that past couple of years, we dramatically increased our participation," Fletcher explained.

But Fletcher says it's also a chance to mirror the community the officers serve, by diversifying the force.

"Our police department should represent our community and we're working very hard and very successfully at doing that," Fletcher said.

Reserve officers at the police department would comply with Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission, which sets training standards for full-time law enforcement officers.

According the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office spokesman, Matt Lea, the sheriff's office already has 40 reserve deputies on staff. The reserve officers work in traffic and also help the sheriff's office staff special events such as fairs and festivals.

Fletcher says some of the qualifications for the reserve officers at the police department will require you to be a U.S. citizen, be at least 18 years old, and pass physical and psychological exams.

Several other policies surrounding the program are still being worked out.

The program will be up and running this fiscal year.

Powered by Frankly