Department requests manpower in auxiliary officers

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG — Auxiliary reserve officers cover needed security details, which keeps police officers on their regular duties of patrolling the streets and fighting crime.

“Having these officers keeps our patrolmen on the roads, doing their job,” Huntingburg Police Lt. Tim Mullen said Thursday morning. “We want to keep (the police officers) on the road.”

The Huntingburg Board of Public Works and Safety recommended Thursday morning to the Huntingburg Common Council that five people be added as auxiliary reserve officers: Savanna Bauer, Rayce Jones, Cole Meyer, Narrissa Montes and Chuck Rasche.

Once approved, the police department will have 10 auxiliary reserve officers. But the department could use more, Police Chief Art Parks told the board. He requested that the city ordinance be amended to allow the department to have up to 15 auxiliary reserve officers. The ordinance now allows up to 10 officers.

“It would help a lot if that can be increased to have a little more help covering the events,” Parks said.

Security details are requested and needed at the many festivals and sporting events in the city, including the schools and the Dubois County Bombers games, as well as special events that happen throughout the year, like 100 Men Who Cook on Saturday at the Huntingburg Events Center, said Mullen, who manages the auxiliary reserve officers.

“We’re a 14-man department,” he said. “We don’t have enough people to cover all these events without the assistance of auxiliary reserve officers.”

The hours auxiliary reserve officers work varies depending on the details they cover, but they aren’t limited to a set number of hours per week, Mullen said. They go through various training for things like radio and communications, vehicular traffic control and defense tactics. They can also ride with police officers, to see firsthand what officers do on their jobs.

Auxiliary reserve officers are volunteers and are not paid, which can make it difficult to get people to take on the job, Mullen said. But most of them take the position to get some experience, especially if they believe they are interested in becoming a full-fledged officer, he said.

Currently, the department has five auxiliary officers who are able to cover security details. “Just with that list, you can see that really quickly, we run out of manpower,” Mullen said.

If the council approves the five additional people recommended by the public works board, they will be sworn in quickly. “And then they can go to work,” Mullen said.

The auxiliary reserve officers are vital to the police department, Mullen said. He was glad that Parks, the public works board and city officials recognize the officers’ important role.

“That’s the design of the program, to keep from taking officers off their patrol to work the security events,” Mullen said. “We couldn’t cover all the details without them (the auxiliary reserve officers). We just couldn’t do it.”




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