LAPD Reserve Officer Program
Policing At Its Finest
by Bill Murray
Initiative Provides Many Residents
Opportunities to Serve the Community
The Reserve Corps’ motto:
"To be a Reserve is to be Twice a Citizen"
an effort to bolster the manpower at LAPD, Mayor James Hahn held
a news conference today to announce a major community-based policing
plan including several initiatives designed to revitalize the LAPD
Reserve Corps Program.
The Mayor was joined by Assistant Chief Sharon Papa, City Councilmen
Greig Smith and Dennis Zine, both LAPD Reserve Officers, and Police
Commission Vice President Alan Skobin, who serves as a Reserve Officer
in the Sheriff's Department.
The event was held on the front steps at Devonshire Division in
Northridge, and is part of the ongoing effort to make LA the "safest
big city in America."
The LAPD now numbers about 9,200 officers. Throughout the city,
residents consistently ask to increase the size of the police force.
But only 30 new officers are planned in the new budget.
Mayor Hahn and the Police Commission are determined to find ways
to bring more officers into the Department.
Among other things, they are supporting the proposed ˝ cent sales
tax initiative, which could result in perhaps as many as 5,000 new
law enforcement officers across the county, with some 1,800 being
hired at LAPD alone.
Placing a new priority on the Reserve Corp Program and finding ways
the community can more easily participate is a significant step.
LAPD currently has 649 active reserve officers, the largest Police
Department Reserve Unit in California. However, the Reserve Corps
has an authorized strength of 2,000 officers and at its peak, reached
It was established during World War II, when enlistment and the
draft depleted the ranks of qualified LAPD recruits. The LAPD turned
to the residents of the community to supplement the shortage of
full-time police officers. Thousands of concerned citizens volunteered
their services as auxiliary police.
Mayor Hahn said that because of the fiscal constraints on the department,
he is looking at this as a creative way to put more officers on
"Reserve officers are a valuable resource to the department. Our
current Reserve Corps of 649 officers is the equivalent of approximately
100 full-time officers, which saves the LAPD approximately $5 million
per year," said Mayor Hahn. "Because of difficult budget times,
we are unable to hire the police officers we need, but building
the reserve ranks will help us make our streets safer."
Types of Reserve Officers
There are four types of Reserve Officers, three of which are required
to work a minimum of 32 hours every two deployment periods to remain
active. The civilian Specialists have no shift requirement:
I Reserve Officers are sworn peace officers who generally
wear uniforms, are armed and work primarily patrol assignments.
They receive 795 hours of academy training and undergo a year
of field training before becoming fully designated as a Level
II Reserve Officers are sworn peace officers who generally
wear uniforms, are armed, and have police officer powers only
while on-duty . They can work the same assignments as Level
I officers provided they are supervised by a full-time or Level
I Reserve Officer. They receive 455 hours of academy training.
III Reserve Officers are sworn peace officers who generally
wear uniforms, are unarmed and have police officer powers only
while on-duty . They receive 205 hours of academy training and
work support assignments such as the area desk and assisting
detectives in non-tactical situations.
Reserve Officers are civilian volunteers who possess special
skills that benefit the department. Although they receive a
brief orientation, they have no specific department training,
no police officer powers and do not wear uniforms or carry weapons.
a daily basis, and in times of major disaster, Los Angeles Police
Department Reserve Corps Officers stand side-by-side sworn LAPD
Officers to support police operations," said Zine. "As a Level I
Reserve Officer with over 35 years of police experience, my reserve
activities remain both challenging and interesting."
"It has been my honor and pleasure to serve the City of Los Angeles
as an LAPD Reserve Officer for the past eleven years," said Councilman
Smith. "I've trained and served alongside L.A.'s finest and count
my work with the LAPD among the most rewarding and challenging of
The LAPD commissioned a survey of reserve officers to determine
the reserve corps strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to improve
the program. They also surveyed other Southern California reserve
programs to gather new ideas. As a result, the department is issuing
20 recommendations to the Police Commission to revitalize the Reserve
"The Police Department has been severely understaffed for years.
I have asked officers to do more with less. I am encouraged by these
initiatives that will increase the number of Reserve Police Officers
to augment current staffing levels," said Police Chief Bill Bratton.
The initiatives focus on improving morale of reserve officers as
well as increasing the ranks. The recommendations go before the
Police Commission for approval in the next few weeks. Mayor Hahn
presented the following recommendations at the press conference:
as part of a five-year revitalization program a goal of doubling
the size of the Reserve Corps.
a Lateral Reserve Officer hiring and training process to facilitate
the recruitment of reserve officers who wish to join LAPD from
all current and retired city employees a financial "hiring bonus"
of $500 when they successfully recruit a Level I, II, or III
Reserve Officer and the concerned officer completes academy
a Reserve Corps Recruitment Website similar to that for full-time
the hiring process to allow qualified Level I Reserve Officers
to become full-time police officers.
bonus points for reserve officers during the selection process
to become full-time officers.
Commission Vice President Alan Skobin stated, "These initiatives
will greatly enhance the Department's Reserve Corps, making it an
active and vital component of the LAPD's fight against crime. Reserve
Officers are an example of community-based policing in its truest
form. The value that Reserves bring to the table is immense, and
doubling their force is a priceless benefit to the people of Los
Also on hand was Commander Robert Hansohn, who supervises the Reserve
Program. He announced a new online newsletter dedicated to the Reserve
Corp has just been launched (see "The Reserve Rotator"
In its inaugural issue, Commander Hansohn writes, "It has been almost
a year since I was assigned as the Department's Reserve Coordinator.
From early on, it became evident to me that many things were needed
to support and help revitalize the Reserve Corps. After many meetings
with reserve coordinators and reserve officers from throughout the
City, we have established what I believe to be an excellent set
of initiatives to improve the Corps and increase its size."
The Rewards of Becoming a Reserve
Officer Reserve Officers are generally not content to play a passive
role in life. Instead, they continue to devote more and more of
their time and talents to the City of Los Angeles. They "get involved"
for the betterment of their community, and by doing so live up to
the Reserve Corps’ motto, "To be a reserve is to be twice a citizen."
Because Reserve Officers are effective spokespersons in their neighborhoods
for the support of law enforcement, their presence in the Department
provides full-time officers with more insight into all segments
of the City’s population.
Department personnel who have been associated with the Police Reserve
Corps are continually impressed by the performance and dedication
of its members.
Numerous LAPD Reserve Officers attended the event at Devonshire
Division as well, including a milkman, a nursery owner and a Park
Ranger. Several of them expressed their gratitude for having the
ability to make a difference in Los Angeles. Over time many of their
stories will be found within the new newsletter, as will information
about Training, Events, Opportunities, Division Spotlights and more.
This is community policing and volunteering at its finest.
LAPD is calling … will you answer?
For more information please see:
LAPDonline.org page about:
Reserve Corps Program
"The Reserve Rotator"
Reserve Corps' new newsletter:
Police Officer Program
700 East Temple
Los Angeles, CA
213 / 485-3800