The Atlantic Police Department is
assisted by the Atlantic Police Department Reserve Unit. Reserve officers are
volunteers from the community who take time from there personal lives to work as
police officers. These highly dedicated individuals spend numerous hours working
and training with the police department. By Iowa Code reserve officers are given
the same authority and powers of arrest as full-time officers. The difference
between regular and reserve officers is that reserves are not financially
compensated and they set there own working hours. The training reserve officers
receive is primarily done "in house" by full-time officers who are certified
through the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy as instructors. These Instructors not
only train the reserve officers but regular officers as well. The Iowa Law
Enforcement Academy also calls upon them to assist in instructing the Basic
Reserve officers hold a monthly meeting and training
session. In addition to the monthly training, the department as a whole
participates in all day training blocks on a quarterly basis.
officers are utilized in several areas. While on patrol reserve officers
typically work with a full-time officer. The reserve officer works as a "cover
officer" as he and his partner answer calls for service, respond to emergency
situations, enforce traffic laws and handle the diverse situations which arise.
Reserve officers also assist with special assignments such as narcotics
enforcement, bike patrol, crime scenes, community service projects, and
The process to become a reserve officer is rather lengthy.
Perspective reserves are required to ride along with a full-time officer for
five different shifts. The purpose for this is two fold. First the perspective
officer has the opportunity to get a taste of what law enforcement is really
like, not the perception. The other purpose is for the full-time Officers to get
to know the perspective reserve and to see how he reacts to the different
situations which arise. After the candidate has completed the ride time their
application for the unit will be accepted. The application will be reviewed by
the department as a whole. The perspective officer will be interviewed by the
reserve unit supervisors. He or she will then be invited to a reserve unit
meeting. At the meeting the perspective officer will be interviewed by the
entire reserve unit. During the interview the perspective officer will be
questioned in numerous areas such as there past history, why they want to be a
reserve officer, what they have to offer the unit, how they would handle
different scenarios, how there family feels about them being an officer and etc.
When the interview is complete two officers will be assigned to complete a
detailed background investigation. During this process the candidates criminal
history, driving record and employment history will be examined. Personal
references, employment references, family, friends and acquaintances will also
be interviewed. The results of the background investigation will be brought to
the next reserve meeting. At that meeting all officers in the unit will discuss
the applicant and then vote rather or not to accept them. If the results of the
vote are positive the application will be forwarded to the Chief of Police for
review and approval. With the Chief's approval the applicant will then be hired
and begin the training process.
Rookie reserve officers are required to
complete 40 hours of training in the first year. A few of the required topics
are Laws of arrest, Use of force, CPR, vehicle stops defensive tactics, felony
in progress, and etc. After a six month probationary period reserve officers can
begin firearms training. This consists of an additional 40 hours of in-depth
firearms training in which written and practical examinations are completed.
Second and subsequent year reserve officers are required to maintain all
previous certifications and complete 30 hours of training annually.
Reserve officers are required to work a minimum of 10 hours a month to maintain
their skills. In addition they are required to attend the monthly meeting and
training sessions. They are also scheduled to work at the Atlantic High School
during functions such as sporting events.
Due to the extreme amount of
time required, and the ever present threat of danger, many people ask why anyone
would want to be a reserve officer.
Typically reserves fall into one of
two categories. Many are civic minded individuals who serve the community in
which they live and work. Their intent is to give back to the community and to
make it a better place. The second category are those individuals who want to
become full-time officers. Starting as a reserve gives a person hands on
practical exposure. This insight gained helps people decide if this is really a
career they want to pursue. The training and experience gained as a reserve
officer is very similar to that of a full-time officer and is an asset on an
application for a full-time position.
The Atlantic Police Department is
always looking for responsible, mature, qualified reserve officers. If
interested in applying or if you have any questions about our unit contact us at
712-243-3512 or visit us at the Atlantic Police Department.
Current Reserve Offices include: