EL RENO – Canadian County added five new officers to its reserve staff on Friday after they graduate from a reserve academy.
The six new reserve deputies bring to 22 the number of reserves serving the county. Two of Friday’s graduates are employees of the sheriff’s department, including Chelsea Adkins, who is a forensic technician for the department.
Adkins, who joined the sheriff’s office in February, said she’s excited to join the reserves while maintaining her day job as a technician.
“This where I want to be,” she said Monday.
Adkins said she wanted to join the reserves to improve her skills in law enforcement.
Eventually, she said, she would like to go through the process to be a full-time deputy. But for now, she will be able to serve her community as a reserve.
Also among the reserves was Travis Mustain, who works as a jailer for the county.
The other county reserves are Mario Morris, Michael Kramp and Thomas Koch.
In all, 10 reserves graduated during Friday’s ceremony at The Palace, west of Yukon.
Two of the graduates were from Boley, one was from Cashion, one from Pottawatomie County and one from Amber.
Sheriff Chris West said reserves play an integral role for his agency.
“They augment our patrol division. When we have shortages in our schedule, when we have people who are on vacation, they come in and they are a regular patrol deputy,” said West.
To get to that point, though, is not easy, said Maj. John Bridges, who is the uniform operations commander and in charge of the patrol division.
First, they must go through an indepth interview process to be considered, then go through training three nights a week for five months.
And even after they graduate from the academy, which is structured much like the CLEET Academy, they are still not done.
Bridges said they still must go through several months of training with an experienced deputy.
“It is a huge commitment on both sides,” he said.
And for this, the reserves get zero pay.
“They are a volunteer force,” West said.
“It is extremely difficult to get people to volunteer for the program because it takes several months to go through the training,” West said. “Most people don’t have that commitment.”
Once the training is complete, West said, the reserves are asked to donate at least 16 hours per month.
Some give much more than that.
West said when he first began, there were two reserves with the agency that gave so much time that it was difficult to tell if they were on the full-time staff or were reserves.
For the two new reserves who are fulltime employees, the commitment goes much further.
For Mustain, it means that he moves from just being a detention officer to being a detention deputy. That will mean a bump in pay, but also responsibilities.
Bridges said he can now be armed and be able to transport officers.
As for Adkins, she will be able to help with prisoners at the scene because she is no longer considered a civilian employee.
The new reserves begin their field training duties June 20.