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City to continue exploring use of reserve police unit

By Staff | Oct 24, 2011

City Council wants to keep exploring the option of instituting and using a reserve police unit staffed entirely by volunteers, but the idea didn’t sit too well with Police Chief Jay Murphy, who said much would have to be addressed before signing off on it.

“I have serious concerns and someone is going to have to address that it’s my signature as chief of police that gives them the authority,” Murphy said.

Evan Finn, the long-time Cape Coral resident who pitched the idea to council, envisions the reserve police officers being fully trained and sworn, enabling them all the powers of a full-time, paid police officer with full powers of arrest.

Finn said recent academy graduates, officers who have been laid-off or retired and “extreme volunteers” would make the most viable options for the reserve unit. Finn said he recently graduated from the police academy.

“This could be a valuable tool for Cape Coral,” Finn told council.

Murphy said the city previously had a reserve police unit, which he served on, but the unit was eventually disbanded due to training and compliance issues.

Murphy said any reserve police officer would have to maintain the same level of training and certification a full-time police, paid police officer does, which would require funding.

Murphy is also unsure that Cape Coral is the right fit for the idea.

“I’m not saying they don’t work, they work in the right environment,” Murphy added.

Mayor John Sullivan said the reserve officers could serve in certain rolls, like filing paper work, while giving the city an opportunity to see them in action.

“I want to pursue the potential in this, it would be a big help to our police department to continue to give us the help we need,” the mayor said.

“It’s an idea that has merit but needs further analysis,” Councilmember Bill Deile added.

No action was taken during the council workshop.