2010-12-08 / News

With Waynesboro police

Reserve officers will be in uniform soon

By Elizabeth Billips lizbillips@yahoo.com

Volunteer officers will soon be helping Waynesboro police.

Monday night, city council adopted an ordinance that will encourage certified officers to volunteer at least 24 hours a month with the police department.

“I think it’s wonderful … a win-win situation,” said Augusta Technical College police academy instructor Alfonzo Williams who proposed the addition in July. He expects at least five of his recent graduates to volunteer. “This gives new officers the experience they need and Waynesboro the economic boost it needs,” Williams continued, pointing out the program’s ability to reduce overtime and provide extra officers for community events. “And citizens get the relief they deserve – free labor and free protection, all for the cost of a uniform and gas.”

Other agencies with reserve forces say their volunteers usually come from three groups – graduates seeking on-the-job training, retired cops and professionals who chose other career paths but enjoy law enforcement.

While city council gave the program a unanimous thumbsup back in August, the adoption of the ordinance put the rules and regulations on the books and will now allow Police Chief Karl E. Allen to start putting volunteers in uniform.

The ordinance went into effect immediately, and city officials hope to have their first reserve officers on the street no later than Christmas. If the model follows those being successfully utilized in Columbia and Aiken counties, the program could save thousands of dollars a month.

According to Columbia County authorities, 17 men and women serve on their reserve force, logging in more than 340 collective hours a month – the equivalent, they say, of having two additional full time employees.

In Aiken County, officers say their 40-officer reserve program saved taxpayers an estimated $435,700 last year.

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