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Washoe County Could Soon See More Volunteer Sheriff's Deputies

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office is expanding their Reserve Deputy Program. 

The program allows volunteers the chance to protect and serve their community as secondary law enforcement officers. The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office is expanding this program in an effort to save money. Sheriff Chuck Allen says when he took office in November, there were less than ten reserve deputies in Washoe County.  

“My goal is to ultimately have 60 trained men and women from the community who are willing to serve in a variety of capacities.”

And Allen is well on his way to meeting that 60 person goal. So far, almost 200 people have applied. But ordinary citizens moonlighting as law enforcement officers can be cause for concern. Recently, a volunteer police officer in Oklahoma allegedly mistook his gun for his taser and shot and killed an unarmed suspect.

Incidents like this are why Allen says…

“Most of what we do, everything we do hinges on training.”

This includes elevating some of the program requirements. Volunteers will now have to complete a minimum of 200 hours of training, up from 120, as well as complete more frequent gun and taser courses. The next training session for the Reserve Deputy Program is set to begin late this summer.

Esther Ciammachilli is a former part-time broadcaster at KUNR Public Radio.