First Friday will be the first night out for many of Richmond County’s reserve deputies.
Six of the 10 deputies, who are certified and volunteer their time to the sheriff’s office for free, will be fully uniformed, assisting full-time deputies in walking beats downtown for the night.
“We want it to be something where the sheriff can utilize us the best he can,” said reserve deputy Tripp Haywood. “I think the very best thing they can do with us right now is First Friday.”
Haywood is returning to the sheriff’s office after attempting to be a full-time deputy and run a business. The reserve program, he said, is the perfect opportunity to do something he loves without being full time.
The sheriff’s office said one of the main benefits from the reserves will be to provide extra manpower at city events like First Friday without taking an officer off a beat.
The reserve deputy program has been a long time coming. After months of working to get the program started, the deputies were sworn in at the courthouse May 30 with hopes of being on the street by June’s First Friday.
The plan was put on hold when the sheriff’s office ran into issues with worker’s compensation. Lt. Lewis Blanchard said there was a question about how to protect officers who were not full-time, paid employees. The problems have been resolved with reserves having the same coverage as all other employees.
“They were ready and still are,” Blanchard said. “They’re ready to put their talents to use.”
Some of the reserves have already warmed up their new uniforms.
Barry Davis was able to assist the narcotics division with several busts Sunday and Monday. Davis worked in narcotics before he left 12 years ago to focus on his appraisal business. One of the arrests he made recently was a person he had arrested back in 2000.
“It was like riding a bike,” he said of his first shift back. “Some of the same faces we saw back then we’re seeing again.”
The only issue he’s had so far is adjusting to the new reporting system.
All reserves are required to work at least 20 hours a month or 60 hours per quarter and have to meet all standards and requirements as other deputies. Reserves will be used in all capacities from special events to assisting the road patrol, narcotics division and criminal investigation division.
“We understand the commitment and we understand the dangers,” Davis said. “I’m giving back to a department like Richmond County that has done so much for me. It’s not for the glory and definitely not the pay, it’s just doing something I love to do.”