BY TIFFANY MARTINEZ
Five men and one woman were sworn in to become reserve peace officers for the Grady County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) on July 2. This raises the reserve deputy count to 29, according to Undersheriff Rusty Pyle, a significant increase from the four reserve deputies working for the office when the Jim Weir administration took over in early January.
A fraction of the newly sworn officers is certified but the remainder will begin their certification training in September in Ada, Okla.
The reserve team members volunteer at least 16 hours a month, pay for their own ammo and uniforms. In addition, most use their own vehicles, requiring a specific paint job to patrol the county, which is also tallied to out-of-pocket expenses. The Sheriff’s Office reimburses only one commodity: Gasoline.
Although they are unpaid, they possess full law enforcement privileges and authority while on patrol.
Pyle said the volunteerism of these officers is deeply appreciated and allows the department to run more efficiently.
“These people do it because they love law enforcement, it’s in their blood,” Pyle said. “Some of them were reserve officers previously, some of them are retired but still want to be involved.”
Pyle said two lieutenants and the major work with the agendas of the reserve officers each month for scheduling, as many have other jobs. Often times however, the reserves are called in to help with special events or emergency situations.
“Our reserves step up and do so much,” Pyle said. “They supplement our man power, without them we couldn’t do a lot of the things that we do. It’d just be impossible.”
The reserve deputies almost doubly outnumber the paid deputies, but this is something that pleases the administration.
“We’ve probably had about 60 people come to us wanting to be reserve officers,” Pyle said. “Of course, we can’t take all of them — and there is a certain procedure a person has to go through — they have to pass a psychological evaluation, background check and interview process. We’re really proud people want to help out, though.”
The GCSO works each day to ensure the streets of Grady County are kept safe and secure, a difficult task as the area amounts to 1,105 square miles.
“All of our deputies do an outstanding job, they really do,” Pyle said. “They love the community, they want to make sure the citizens are safe and some of them do it for nothing — that says a lot.”