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SHERIFF'S RESERVE DRIVE SET FOR TODAY.

Byline: Naush Boghossian Staff Writer

SANTA CLARITA - The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is building up its reserve unit and is inviting potential volunteer officers to today's recruitment drive.

The department wants to increase its reserve unit from 750 to at least 1,000 deputies to help full-time officers with daily and special-event activities. Currently, there are only 42 in the Santa Clarita Valley.

``It's a chance for people to give back to their community,'' said Sgt. Steven Jenkins, reserve coordinator. ``Many people like the type of work that a full-time deputy does, but they're established in careers of their own.''

Reserve deputies must be at least 21 and have a high-school diploma or GED. They are issued a uniform, badge, identification card and a gun. They fit into the normal patrol shift and respond to the same calls.

But before they hit the streets, candidates undergo a rigorous interviewing process before entering the academy for the required 380 hours of training.

Each must pass a written exam, an oral interview, a background investigation and a two-phase medical examination that tests physical and mental agility. They also must take a polygraph test.

``Anybody that ends up testing for the Sheriff's Department as a reserve is somebody who's dedicated to idea of becoming a reserve deputy,'' Jenkins said. ``This is a big commitment of time, both for the reserve deputy as well as for their families.''

The Santa Clarita station asks for a minimum of 20 hours per month, which includes reserves, search-and-rescue and mounted posse.

Uniform reserves, depending on their status and training, can go out on calls alone, with another reserve or with a full-time deputy.

Search-and-rescue reserves have emergency training and have mountaineering skills.

The mounted posse own horses and use them for search-and-rescue. They also patrol parks and participate in parades.

College of the Canyons offers academy training classes twice a year, and for each reserve group there's additional training.

Uniform reserves requires 600 hours of field training; search-and-rescue requires a emergency medical technician license and training in 24 different areas, including rigging climbing systems and using maps and compasses; and the mounted posse reserves and their horses also receive special training.

Once the tests are passed, all reserve deputies have full peace officer powers while on duty and help the department's bottom line. In 2001, the Santa Clarita station's 50 reserves worked about 24,000 hours.

``That amount of time translates into about 11 full-time deputies and a savings to the people here in Santa Clarita for about $1.2 million dollars,'' Jenkins said. ``They can end up giving back to the program for a long period of time.''

IF YOU GO

The Sheriff's Department reserve officer recruitment drive will be held 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at the Santa Clarita Valley Station, 23740 Magic Mountain Parkway.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 8, 2003
Words:477
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