City resumes police reserve program

Three new reserve police officers soon will be hitting the streets of Tiffin.

The officers, who were sworn in last week, were hired by Tiffin Police Chief Fred Stevens in an effort to bring back Tiffin’s reserve program. The program was decommissioned in 2002.

The volunteer officers, Chad M. Siebeneck of Findlay, Andrew M. Shelton of Huron, and Drew A. Westenbarger of rural Fostoria, will ride along with full-time police officers and have the duties of full-time officers, Stevens said.

The men were chosen from the top six candidates of a bi-yearly test given by the police department. The test is given to maintain a list of potential candidates in the event of a retirement or a police officer leaving the department.

“If city the is ready to hire it’ll be a no-brainer to hire these guys,” Stevens said of the reserves.

The reserves already will know the streets of Tiffin and will have needed training under their belts, Stevens said.

“This way, you can kind of view their work ethic, their passion for the job and their ability level before they’re full time,” he said. “It’s almost like an internship.”

The reserves also will relieve stress of the full-time police officers, Stevens said. Right now, the department is short five officers.

“It gives us a body without us having to get those five full-time officers we need,” he said.

The men, too, will benefit from the reserve program, Stevens said.

“All candidates hope to get hired on a department full time. The only way to do that in the police field is to get on-the-job experience,” he said.

Candidates out of a police academy only have 12 months to find an auxiliary, part-time or full-time position. If they can’t find a position in a year, they must go back to a two-week refresher course. After 24 months without a position, a police officer loses his or her certification, Stevens said.

Stevens, who started as a reserve police officer in Marblehead, said the men will be coming to the department with their own equipment. The only expense will be the purchase of uniforms.

“Everybody is trying to get that full-time job,” he said. “Most of the time, you have to take a chance and get on a reserve or auxiliary with hopes you get hired full-time or gain experience.”

Stevens said the men likely will be riding with full-time officers by Aug. 1. They will work a minimum of 16 hours a month.

Although the police department is allowed to have up to 15 reserve officers, Stevens said he would like to boost the number of reserve officers to between five and seven.