Grant Stinchfield, NBCDFW.com
The Dallas budget crisis has cut the department's goal to add 400 new officers in two years by half. So now, the department is looking to strengthen its all-volunteer reserve ranks.
The Dallas Police Department is searching for dozens of officers willing to work for free.
The city's current budget crunch forced the department to cut hiring goals in half. In other words, during 2010 and 2011 Dallas will only hire about 200 new officers when 400 was the original goal. "Right now only about half our reserve ranks are filled, we could really help the Department out if we added another 60 or 70 reserve officers, because we volunteer our time," said Reserve Commander Rick Anderson.
Reserve officers have full police powers, they carry guns, and go on patrol just like paid officers. The only difference is reserve officers do it for free.
"You can see the benefit to the city, we are out there working where they need us and it really is a great value for the city," said Reserve Deputy Commander Steve Brody.
The department is pushing to hire more reserve officers because they can easily supplement the full time force.
Full time officers say they are so busy going from one emergency call to the next there is little time to do work and walk their beats. Using the reserve unit, DPD supervisors can strategically place reserve officers as a deterrent to crime. "During the holidays we are out in full force patrolling mall parking lots, actively looking for car burglars and other thieves," said Deputy Commander Brody.
"We just want to help out where ever we can," said Commander Anderson. His army of reserve officers are there to protect and serve just like full time officers. "The only difference is we do it for free," said Brody.
Everyone agrees, more reserve officers will help keep Dallas safe and taxpayers happy.