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Move afoot to augment force with reserves having 24-hour police powers

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POSTED December 12, 2009 3:15 a.m.
Manteca could soon have reserve police officers with “24-hour peace officer powers.”

Police Chief Dave Bricker is asking the City Council Tuesday to approve a plan that would designate certain Level I reserve police officers as full-time peace officers.

That means reserves who met specific criteria could act in the community’s interest or take action as a law enforcement officer when off duty. Currently, Level I reserve officers must have completed a certified field training program plus a police officer’s training academy. They have the same authority as regular officers when on duty but not when they are off-duty.

Bricker’s proposal would change that.

The criteria the chief is asking for authorization to put in place includes completion of a minimum of 12 months employment as a full time peace officer.

That is expected to open the door to a number of existing reserve officers – and applicants – to gain status as peace officers “with” 24-hour powers.”

The reserve unit currently has 25 officers including 10 of the Manteca police officers that were laid off in October due to budget cuts.

In addition, the department is currently reviewing nearly 50 applications for the reserve program. The bulks are from experienced police officers who have lost their jobs from other agencies due to the economy or retired law enforcement officers.

The reserves are non-paid volunteers. They are compensated, however, when they are subpoenaed for court appearances.

The reserve unit has been serving the city almost since the first day the police department was formed in 1918.

Bricker noted that it would help the department recruit honorably retired police officers and those impacted by the economy into the force’s ranks. It would benefit Manteca citizens by increasing the number of trained police offices protecting the community and empowering them to take action when they see criminal activity taking place even when they are not on duty.

The Manteca City Council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.
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