With the Fourth of July celebration starting this weekend there will be security all over the area, some of which will be provided by reserve deputies who are currently in training at the Clay County Sheriff's Department.
Greg Barnett Jr., Benny Boes, John Maesch, Pat Poole and Taylor Schuch are all undergoing 40 hours of pre-basic training. The state of Indiana requires the training before anyone is able to be a deputy or reserve officer. The training is a combination of independent studies and structured classes. The classes include physical tactics, firearms training, shooting and basic law enforcement knowledge, impact weapon, chemical agent training and strategies and tactics of patrol stops (STOPS).
In the eight hours of physical tactics training the deputies learn what force they can use, when it is allowed, and how to take someone into custody without hurting them or themselves. Deputy Dan Best teaches the eight hours of firearms training, where they learn the laws of when they can fire a weapon, what deadly forces are, and when they are allowed to use them. Anything that can cause serious bodily injury is considered a deadly force by Indiana state law. In the courses on shooting they must learn to be accurate, account for every shot fired and demonstrate proper weapon safety. Without the ability to demonstrate proper weapon safety the deputy will not receive a passing grade. Chemical agent training prepares them for attacks with mace and STOPS training provides the deputies with the knowledge of procedure for pulling over a car and other tips used on almost every call they will make.
"Some of the reserves here are trained as well or better than other counties," Sgt. Rob Gambill said.
After completing the training the reserves are on a six-month probation period and are to put in 16 hours per month at the department, though some of them are giving 50 to 60 hours per month. During this time they will accompany full-time deputies or reserves to learn policies and procedures. They will also be able to serve civil papers, provide security at local ball games, social functions and other major events, do inmate transfers for the sheriff, work at the jail and sit with inmates at the hospital.
"These officers are really making a great sacrifice to do this for the community at large," Gambill said. "I would hope the community would support them morally and financially if they can afford it."
While a reserve deputy is gaining experience and knowledge, they have to shell out a hefty fee of almost $1,500 to get started. These fees include boots, duty leather, firearm and uniform. But that fee will pay for the tools they will need as a stepping stone for their future career or just to benefit the community.
"The reserve deputies receive no pay. In fact they pay to be reserves. They have to buy their own uniforms, firearms and equipment," Sheriff Rob Carter said.
Anyone interested in becoming a reserve deputy must be 21, reside in Clay County, have a free criminal record and clean driving record.
"Reserve deputies are a valuable asset to the Sheriff's Department. We couldn't function without them," Carter said.