Reserve officers support Sheriff's Department

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   Some men and women of Carter County are volunteering their time and talents to assist a local law enforcement agency in making the county safe.
   Members of the Carter County Sheriff's Department Reserve Officer Program help the department by providing assistance in necessary duties such as road patrol and operating the Carter County Jail.
   "Reserves, in my opinion, are the best thing that ever happened to the sheriff's department," Carter County Sheriff John Henson said. "The reserves have been a great asset to the sheriff's department. It gives you extra manpower."
   Reserve officers provide backup for officers when help is needed, fill in when full-time officers or jailers take time off, work ball games at local schools, and guard inmates from the jail who have been taken to local hospitals for treatment.
   Other duties include transporting inmates to health facilities for treatment and sometimes picking up individuals who have been arrested in other counties on charges from Carter County and transporting them to the Carter County Jail, according to Sgt. Chuck Madgett, who has worked with the Reserve Officer Program for 11 years. "Filling in in the jail is a biggie for us and providing backup on the road is another area we try to help out with," he said.
   Because the reserve officers volunteer their time, the extra manpower they offer comes at no charge to the county. "Our reserve program saves the tax payers thousands of dollars," Madgett said.
   The sheriff's department provides training for reserve officers as well as uniforms and equipment. "When I first started here they had to buy all of their own equipment," Henson said. "Now I've got a grant that buys them their uniforms and equipment."
   Being a reserve officer involves immense dedication. "The requirements are the same as for a full time officer," Henson said. Reserve officers are required to work at least 10 hours a month with the department.
   In addition to reserve officer duties, many of the officers in the program hold full-time jobs and have families.
   Currently, the sheriff's department is trying to recruit more volunteers for the program who can provide assistance when other reserve officers are unavailable.
   "Most of our makeup right now is professional people who have to work Monday through Friday," Madgett said. "We can help out after hours and on weekends. Right now we're trying to recruit some people to help at other times."
   To become a reserve officer, an individual must be 21-years-old, have a high school diploma, have no criminal record and pass the civil service exam.