JPD Reserve Officers patrol with a caring heart - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

JPD Reserve Officers patrol with a caring heart

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Right now there is a select group of Jackson police officers patrolling the streets.

They're trained, certified, and can arrest you. Yet, there's a catch, they do it for free.

They are reserve officers.

"Jackson is my home and I always intend to keep Jackson my home," said JPD Reserve Officer Shambani Watts.

When you talk to these men on the Jackson Police Department's Reserve Unit, that's a common reason you'll hear for why they wear a badge and gun for free.

"This is something that you have to have in your heart, that you want to do, and a majority of these officers that are reserve officers they are doing this because they love the city of Jackson," added Commander Dee McClendon

The volunteers train next to full time cops who are paid at the department's academy.

The reserves become certified and then have additional training on the streets with a field training officer.

"They would have to attend the same type of training that our full time certified officers would. So, somewhere at the end of their training they would be putting in somewhere approximately 400 or 600 hours,' added Commander McClendon.

JPD is dedicated to rebuilding the unit, with hopes of having 80 active reserves on the force by the end of the year, and the reason is simple.

"The more officers you see, the safer people feel. The less likely folks are going to commit crimes in their presence," said Assistant Chief Lee Vance.

Reserves come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are retired from the force, emergency managers, and business owners.

They'll work special events, an assigned beat, or areas where extra officers are needed.

"Even though we're required to spend a minimum of 16 hours a month, you'll find that we'll spend a whole lot more time than that. So, the rewards has to be great in order to see those officers spend that type time," explained Officer Watts.

"When I joined the police reserve unit, they called out and said how do you want to help and give back to the community and this is one way I can do it," said Reserve Officer Wille Gray.

"It's one thing to be a part of it and to get in and try to make a difference and try to stop some of this bad stuff, and not everything is bad. We do a lot of things that are good. I don't want to sound cliche, but we help little old ladies across the street as well," added Reserve Officer Sam Brown.

You won't see reserve anywhere on their uniform and criminals don't discriminate against anyone who wears a badge. Almost anyone could agree it takes a special person to put their life on the line, much less out of the goodness of their heart.

"We tell people all the time we're not out here because we have to be. We're out here because we want to be," added Officer Brown.

If you'd like more information or want to become a reserve officer for the Jackson Police Department call 601-960-2410.

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