Crime & Courts

Richmond Co. | Columbia Co. | Aiken Co. |

Richmond reserve deputy program begins to form

Unit new for Richmond County

Sunday, May 26, 2013 7:17 PM
Last updated Monday, May 27, 2013 9:37 AM
  • Follow Crime & courts

Barry Davis introduced himself to a room of future Richmond County reserve deputies as a man “itching to get back into law enforcement.”

Back | Next
Tripp Haywood (second from left), who has 13 years of law enforcement experience, asks a question during an information session for potential reserve deputies at the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Tripp Haywood (second from left), who has 13 years of law enforcement experience, asks a question during an information session for potential reserve deputies at the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.


Eight of the county’s 10 reserve deputies met at the sheriff’s office Thursday night. Several recognized one another as deputies from their past and all shared the same sentiment: They missed the job.

“It’s just in your blood,” Davis said. “To be a police officer, you have to love what you do.”

For Davis, the only problem was that the pay wasn’t enough to support his family. But after 12 years he’s coming back for at least 20 hours a month for free.

The reservists juggle careers ranging from real estate to high school teachers and full-time officers at other agencies. One, a recent graduate from the police academy, said the job would provide experience at a time when no one is hiring.

Lt. Lewis Blanchard said the sheriff’s office is also in a hiring freeze, making the new reserve unit even more valuable.

“For those of you who’ve been here recently, you know we need as much help as we can get,” Blanchard told the group.

The reserves could hit the streets as soon as the first week of June after being sworn in, issued uniforms and passing firearm qualification. Departments within the sheriff’s office are already requesting help from them.

Blanchard said the reservists can use their special skills from experience at other agencies to help in all fields from road patrol to criminal investigations and narcotics. On road patrol, they can work solo or in two-man crews in higher crime areas.

The reserves will be especially useful at a time like the Masters Tournament when the office needs additional manpower but doesn’t want to take away from other areas.

Blanchard said he expects to see the reserves being deployed downtown given the push for an increased presence there.

The reservists have to be certified by the Peace Of­fi­cers Standards and Train­ing Council, meet the same requirements as a normal paid deputy and will have all the same authority as a paid deputy.

Tripp Haywood worked for the sheriff’s office for eight years in the 1990s and came back within the past year to work full time while maintaining a home appraisal business, but doing both was too much. Through the new unit, Haywood was able to resign from the force and start up with the reserves.

“The commitment is so much that I can’t do it full time, but I can still get out there and be with my guys,” he said.

The sheriff’s office has been working to build a team of reserves for years.

Capt. Scott Gay said former Sheriff Ronnie Strength was “adamantly against it at first.” But as crime began to increase, Strength began to see advantages, and he asked Gay to research other reserve programs.

After the research showed success from surrounding agencies, the office began searching for its first team about two years ago.

Gay said it found only “a handful” of people who were interested – not enough to start a team. The search continued, but when the sheriff’s election approached the plan fell to the side.

Blanchard said the new administration ran into several issues that delayed the start of the program to mid-2013.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for the sheriff’s office,” Gay said. “It’s something we’ve wanted for a long time and I’m glad it’s finally coming to be.”

Richmond County is one of the last agencies in the area to adapt a reserve program. Sheriffs in Columbia and Aiken counties have had programs for at least 15 years.

Aiken County sheriff’s Capt. Bobby Wilson said about 60 reserve deputies aided the department at the program’s height in the late 1990s.

The unit is down to 15 reservists. Wilson said requirement changes by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy last summer led many to change their minds.

Columbia County’s program began in 1993 and has had more than 200 people participate. In 2012, the reserves provided more than 4,000 hours for free.

“Most citizens do like law enforcement,” said Columbia County sheriff’s Lt. Patricia Champion. “They are on our side and want a way to help out and give back to the community.”

Many of Columbia Coun­ty’s reservists are prior officers who are returning because of their love of the job. The team has about 20 officers, but the number tends to fluctuate because the office sometimes hires from within the unit, Champion said.

Aiken County holds a free mini police academy free for reservists, so it sees much more variety.

“These people are a hodgepodge of intelligence level and background,” Wilson said. “It’s amazing the people over the years that have been involved. We’ve had attorneys and nuclear physicists.”

Wilson said he cannot stress how important reservists are. They work for free, and in a job that is known for having its risks.

“They provide a valuable service,” he said. “We couldn’t get as much done without these guys. Rich­mond County is going to see that, too.”

Comments (8) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
thauch12
6879
Points
thauch12 05/26/13 - 09:59 pm
2
2
Interesting

“These people are a hodgepodge of intelligence level and background,”

Interesting choice of words there Captain Wilson. I think this can really be said about regular cops (and most professions in general) haha!

itsanotherday1
45610
Points
itsanotherday1 05/26/13 - 10:46 pm
4
2
I think this follow up

I think this follow up comment gave that appropriate context: "We’ve had attorneys and nuclear physicists.”

Riverman1
87475
Points
Riverman1 05/27/13 - 07:27 am
2
1
Since most crime occurs in black community

Since most crime occurs in the black community, ideally, the reserve officers should be black folks. I don't see any in the photos.

seenitB4
91139
Points
seenitB4 05/27/13 - 08:15 am
5
0
Doing this for free

“It’s just in your blood,” Davis said. “To be a police officer, you have to love what you do.”

For Davis, the only problem was that the pay wasn’t enough to support his family. But after 12 years he’s coming back for at least 20 hours a month for free.

Now..I wonder...how many reading this can say they love their job that much....heh

Thank you to all the men/women who volunteer for this...TY.

seenitB4
91139
Points
seenitB4 05/27/13 - 09:13 am
5
0
To RM

about this quote of yours...

officers should be black folks. I don't see any in the photos.

Should they force them to join RM...volunteer or we will make you...nnaahhh

Riverman1
87475
Points
Riverman1 05/27/13 - 09:32 am
2
0
Nope, can't force them to join,

Nope, can't force them to join, but I'm just saying....

The concept of community policing works best with those in the areas where crime is prevalent becoming involved. Don't go overboard with this idea that all reserve officers have to be ex-police officers and highly trained. A well respected black gentleman in the community given arrest powers would be a powerful influence.

thauch12
6879
Points
thauch12 05/27/13 - 04:00 pm
2
0
All lawyer jokes aside, I

All lawyer jokes aside, I don't think Captain Wilson is really in any position to comment on anyone's "intelligence level," no matter what their profession.

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 05/28/13 - 09:18 am
0
0
reserve deputies?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?
Unpublished

so now in a move to save money you are going to put citizens in harms way as cannon fodder for the thugs, gang-bangers, wanksters(wannabe gang-bangers), and drug dealers. yes in the past they may have been in law-enforcement but based on the article is sez they are now "reservists juggle careers ranging from real estate to high school teachers and full-time officers at other agencies" so question is... 1) will they be armed?-i don't see a thug just giving up based on "hey you halt reservist rich cnty deputy here!!" how many time has a real deputy been shot at or attacked with a weapon responding to a crime or cornering a thug/drug-dealer/gang member???? i see nothing but trouble if they are not trained and armed with a firearm, someone will lose their life all because the cnty cares more about raising money for a TEE CENTER (which described by joe bowles will solve most if not all of the issues causing crime in augusta), a baseball stadium, or other pork projects instead of money to hire more deputies, more money for deputies, and bigger and more jails/prisons in which to house the rats, roaches, and other vermin.

John Q Q
4
Points
John Q Q 06/12/13 - 12:22 pm
0
0
More reserves

Raves to the Richmond County Sheriff Office for starting a reserve deputy program. However more can be done. Currently only certified officers may join. There are many people that would like to help out that do not have the time or the money to put themselves through an academy to become certified. Richmond County needs to host a night time reserve deputy academy. This will allow people to become certified and help out. This includes military police, law enforcement officers from other states that settle here, and people that work during the day. A simple signed contract to volunteer for 5 years or repay the county for the cost of the academy would keep people from getting trained and then leaving for another department.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs