SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (KMTR) -- With just more than a dozen deputies on patrol at the Lane County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO), the office has turned to volunteers to help and so far, there's been a big response with reserve levels climbing to new heights.
In the last six months, LCSO has nearly doubled the number of unpaid reserve deputies, from 8 to 15 volunteers. That number should continue growing soon.
LCSO put on a reserve academy earlier this year; about 50 people applied.
All of the reserve applicants go through about 300 hours of training, including interviews, physical exams, written testing and psych evaluations.
The reserves don't ever go out alone - they ride with paid deputies. The idea is that ultimately, they help with safety, making sure a deputy isn't alone.
They also help with tedious things like paperwork.
“It adds an element of safety, it involves the community in what we do and again, increasing that uniformed presence out there, especially with our very limited patrol capacity right now, is priceless,” says Sergeant Carrie Carver.
Some of the reserve deputies on patrol right now are deputies who were laid off in the last round of budget cuts in June 2012.
Reserves are required to work 16 hours per month to stay eligible. The sheriff's office will reopen the reserve academy program come February 2013.
The program is open to anyone with an interest in law enforcement. Many people who take part are seeking career in policing or maybe have just retired law enforcement.