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Reserve officers play a vital role

Gene Allen has always had an interest in law enforcement. But when life happened -- a wife and kids -- he didn't get the opportunity to pursue his dream.

Then, in 2000, a story ran in a local newspaper saying the Rosemount Police Department needed people to volunteer as police reserves. It fit his interest without all the schooling, so Allen decided to give it go. Nearly nine years later he now commands the group of 11 reserve officers who volunteer their time to help the city's full-time officers.

"I enjoy being out there and being able to help the regular officers," said Allen.

The police reserves serve the Rosemount Police Department in a number of ways. They help patrol parks and streets throughout the year, help with animal control, provide assistance to regular officers and provide security during community events such as Leprechaun Days and teen nights.

"They make the job of the sworn in officers easier," said police chief Gary Kalstabakken.

The most important part of a reserve officer's duty is the police presence they add to the community.

"We have more time to get out there and make contact with the people," added Allen. "The (public relations) we do for the department is probably the most important part of what we do."

Officer Randy Trefethren, a former reserve officer and now a full-time policeman with the department, said the reserve officers provide an extra set of eyes and hands so the department can offer a high level of service.

"It's so nice to have them around," said Trefethren. "It frees up our time and they add a presence in the community."

As part of the reserve program each candidate goes through considerable training. Trefethren, who is the group's liaison, said everyone in the program is first aid and CPR certified. Each of the reserve officers receives a uniform that looks much like those worn by regular officers. They also receive basic self defense instruction including how to use mace and an ASP, the police officer's baton, which are the only weapons they carry.

Reserve officers meet monthly for training. Topics range from traffic control and first responder care to aiding search and rescue efforts.

The reserves are required to put in 120 hours of volunteer time a year and to attend 85 percent of the monthly trainings. Allen said there are lots of opportunities throughout the year to meet the requirement. Most of the reserve officers do a lot of their time during the summer months when there are a lot of events going on.

Trefethren said most of the people in the group spend more than their required 120 hours on the job.

The department is looking for a few more people to volunteer. Allen said they are looking for individuals who don't necessarily want to go into law enforcement as a profession but who want to volunteer in the community. Candidates for the reserves must be 21 years of age, live or work in Rosemount and must be able to pass a background check.

For more information call Randy Trefethren at 952-985-9416.