EXCLUSIVE ON 6: Richmond County Recruits Volunteers For New Reserve Program

EXCLUSIVE ON 6: Richmond County Recruits Volunteers For New Reserve Program (Image 1)

One local county is beefing up its police force through a new program.

Richmond County's new reserve program will add 10 new officers to the police staff.

The reserve program already exists in Columbia and Aiken Counties and soon Richmond County officers will have an extra set of eyes when they patrol the streets.

Richmond County deputies typically patrol the streets with just one officer in certain areas.

“Sometimes you have a 1 man car that's responding to a situation and requires a back-up car like a domestic violence case where it is just unsafe to send one officer in, and 2 officers are needed,” said Lt. Lewis Blanchard.

But thanks to the new reserve program, that may soon change.

“Well with reserve you've got 2 officers on the scene and that's not what the county budget allows for,” said Blanchard.

The reserve officers are expected to do everything a regular officer would do. They can make arrests, carry weapons and are expected to volunteer for at least 20 hours in a given month, but do it on their own times.

“If the data says the problem area is downtown, we are going to put more people in downtown.

If it says South Augusta, we are going to South Augusta. Riverwalk may be busy, the river may be busy with boat races, so we do have to have additional personnel,” said Blanchard.

A majority of them want to become officers or have worked in the department in the past.

“I've wanted to do it for so long. I've been gone for 12 years and I had the itch to get back in it,” said Barry Davis.

More officers on the streets mean more protection for them, and for you.

“These men and women come in every day and put their lives on the line. People at home just don't know what they go through. Everyday you put on that vest and that badge and you don't know what you are going to face. Every house is different. There is no routine call,” said Davis.

“It's a win win for everybody because we get to put more officers on the street. It's done so with no expense to the taxpayer and the community wins because there are more police officers.”

“These people care because that's what they loved to do,” said Davis.

The new reserve program is one of Sheriff Richard Roundtree's new initiatives and is separate from the Citizens Police Academy program.

The volunteer officers will train with the traffic division, DUI taskforce and the drug enforcement agency, and won't look any different than a regular uniformed officer.

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