Six reserves take oath to serve
BOURBON — It was both festive and serious Tuesday night as new reserve officers for the Bourbon Police Department were sworn in.
Family members were present as well as the Town Council members and well-wishers, honoring the new officers for their commitment and willingness to serve.
Bourbon police reserves are all volunteers with full-time jobs elsewhere. While their commitment to serve Bourbon in their free time is commendable, residents may not fully understand the elaborate interviewing and training process these recruits go through before they are ever seen in uniform.
The first step, upon applying to be a reserve officer, is a background check. If any past criminal convictions appear, the candidate is disqualified. (Speeding violations are not considered criminal infractions.)
Then the applicant must go through a home interview, a police department interview, and an interview before the Town Council, which makes the final decision on accepting the individual into the program.
Recruits must then complete a 40-hour pre-basic training program which was hosted in-house by the Bourbon Police Department. The six Bourbon recruits were joined by six candidates for the Marshall County Police Department reserve officer program.
Instructors for the course were Bourbon full-time officers Haskins and Geiger, and Marshall County deputy Hollopeter. The course included introductions to criminal and traffic law, civil law, defensive tactics, firearms usage, and EVO driving (emergency vehicle operations).
Upon successful completion of the course, all six Bourbon recruits were sworn in to service with the Bourbon department Tuesday night and will now receive uniforms and equipment to be used as their training continues.
This training is only the beginning. The new reserve officers will now undergo FTO training (field training operations) which will familiarize them with procedures specific to the Bourbon department. They will learn to write police reports, learn the streets in town, and learn how to conduct a security check. There are three stages to this training:
• Observation in which the reserve officer follows a regular officer in these activities;
• Experience handling police calls as they come in accompanied by a regular officer who shadows the trainee and makes evaluative comments during the process; and
• Solo practice in which the reserve officer handles calls on his/her own with a regular officer present at a distance in case of emergencies.
This training is conducted by Sgt. Rick Kanarr and Police Chief Bill Martin. Now the reserves are ready to patrol on their own, right?
Wrong. They must now complete the Kosciusko County Reserve Officers Academy, which starts in late December and ends in April. In this hands-on course, the trainees will experience all aspects of police work in more detail. Structured role play situations allow them to interact and be evaluated in a court room setting, in firearms training, in traffic stops, and answering actual calls as they come in.
After all of the above requirements are satisfied, reserve officers will be included in shift assignments as their time permits. A poignant question would be, “why would anyone want to devote this much time and effort in something for which they do not get paid?”
The answer varies with the individual. Some reserves are looking for a way to work into law enforcement as a career.
“When I got out of the military,” said Martin, “the Bourbon department was kind enough to allow me to get involved in their reserves. From there, I eventually became a regular officer and now, chief. I have thoroughly enjoyed my career in law enforcement.”
Others may not ever be full time, but just want to give back to their community in much the same way as a volunteer firefighter.
“I am happy to give back to young individuals who may be seeking a way into law enforcement,” said Martin. “This is an outstanding set of new reserves. I am very pleased to have them working with the five full-time officers of this department.”