Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

January 27, 2009


Host: Ted Simons

Phoenix Police Reserve Program


Category: Law

View Transcript
Ted Simons
For more than half a century, men and women have been working alongside the sworn officers of the phoenix police department. they are members of the police reserve, volunteering to serve and protect our community. Merry Lucero has their story.

Merry Lucero
>>> police officers have demanding and rewarding careers. they train hard and risk their lives every day they work. these officers are no different, except they don't get paid. they are reserve officers, volunteers with the phoenix police department.

Scott Finical
>> reserve officer have established careers that they like and they enjoy, and they don't want to give up those careers because of lifelong education or training. this is just a little something extra that they want to do, in addition to their career job. people are very committed to do that. you really come away with an incredible sense of accomplishment, and it's a great experience.

Robert Vied
>> it's been great, very enjoyable. you learn a lot of things that you never even would think of.

Merry Lucero
>> these reserve officers are in the last week was training before they graduate. they are on a six-mile run near the phoenix police academy in south phoenix. physical training is a huge part of becoming an officer.



Scott Finical
>> the training for a reserve officer is identical to that for career officers because they do the same job. but a significant component of the training on police curriculum is physical fitness, physical training, endurance training such as the long-distance run that you talked about, as well as defensive tactics. the work of a police officer is a physically demanding job.

Reserve Officer
>> you've got to plan before you get there what you're going to do and how you're going react.

Merry Lucero
>> the run pauses at a memorial for a DPS. officer shot and killed on a call.

Scott Finical
>> that kind of a story helps to impress upon our recruits the seriousness of the work they do, and why our training is so important. we train officers to protect them, as well as to protect the public. unfortunately, officers are killed in the line of duty. and that's a very serious and sobering experience. it's important for our recruits to understand that part of the job, as well.

Merry Lucero
>> like career officers, reserve recruits complete more than 180 hours of hands-on firearms training and must pass the firearms qualification course. in total, reserves must fulfill 620 hours of training at the academy.

Scott Finical
>>it covers all areas from history of law enforcement to criminal law, all aspects of the job, including constitutional law, search and seizure, victims' rights, all of those important areas that we deal with every day as police officers.

Merry Lucero
>>> after they graduate the academy, the reserve officer goes into a field training program.

Scott Finical
>> which is, they will be in uniform with a firearm as fully certified officer and they will be paired with one of or seasoned career training officers. that program takes another 480 hours on the street, dealing with the public, responding to traffic accidents, handling the duties that a police officer does. but the recruit does it with a training officer along with them.

Merry Lucero
>> once reserve officers are on duty, they must commit to 60 hours of service every three months.

Scott Finical
>> but in reality this is such an interesting job that most of our reserve officers work at least one night, sometimes even two nights a week on a volunteer basis.

>>> the men and women who serve as reserve officer versus diverse day jobs. businesspeople, lawyers, engineers, even an emergency room doctor, all working to keep the public safe. Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon recounts a reserve officer's heroism on the job.

Phil Gordon
>> somebody went into a food court with an automatic weapon and one of the reserve officer, I believe it was a sergeant, put himself in front of the automatic weapon as it was being fired and was able to raise it upward as it was let go when another officer then shot the bad guy and saved a lot of the patrons' lives.

Merry Lucero
>> since Gordon took officer the reserves program has gone from 25 officers to about 125. the goal, to have 200 fully trained and certified officers in the program.

Ted Simons
>> joining me is assistant chief Scott Finical who oversees the phoenix police reserve division. thanks for joining us here on "horizon."

Scot Finical
>> thank you, it's a pleasure to be here.

Ted Simons
>> let's talk about this program, how the program started and where you see it going.

Scot Finical
>> the program initially started in 1951, as a civil defense auxiliary from world war II. And so it started in 1951 and has continued to grow and strengthen as time went on.

Ted Simons
>> it sounds as those these folks work a lot and save a lot of money for the city, give us some numbers here, how that works.

Scot Finical
>> last year our reserve officers donated approximately 33,000 hours, which have a value of probably $2 million to the city. it's a very substantial contribution to the city and savings for the city, as well.

Ted Simons
>> one of the reason Mayor Phil Gordon is happy with the program?

Scot Finical
>> Mayor Gordon is very pleased with the program and he's been a very strong advocate of growing the program as has chief Harris. that's why we've seen this success over the that's few years.

Ted Simons
>> are you ever surprised when you get a stockbroker or a preacher coming in saying, I want to be a reserve officer?

Scot Finical
>> I’m not surprised anymore. because they are committed individuals with demanding career jobs. they want to do something more for the community, to make our community a better place to live, work and, and actually visit, they are very interesting and motivated but very diverse in terms of professionals we do have.

Tim Simons
>> let's say I’m interested but I am worried about the physical nature of the job and the physical requirement to be on the job, what are the requirements?

Scot Finical
>> the requirements are the same as to be a career officer. there is no difference, reserve officers do the same job with the same authority and responsibility. there's a comprehensive background investigation that has to be performed, physical examination, physical agility testing. you do have to be in good physical shape because the job of a police officer is physically demanding.

Ted Simons
>> crazy good physical shape or just good physical shape?

Scot Finical
>> good physical shape, and we'll make you in better shape as a result of the academy. a significant component of the academy is physical training, defensive tactics. you will come out of the academy in much better shape but do you have to meet the minimum requirements.

Ted Simons
>> what do you say to those who say, these are not real officers?

Scot Finical
>> the people whose lives were saved in the food court that the mayor referred to would disagree with that description. Our reserve officers are in the same uniform driving the same police cars, responding to the same calls. So they have saved people in numerous situations, not only the situation that the mayor recently described.

Ted Simons
>> are there assignments best sooted for reserve officers?

Scot Finical
>> all of our reserve officers start in patrol, which is really the backbone to the Phoenix police department. because of the thousands and thousands of calls for service we get every year. If fact last year there were close to 800,000 calls for service. but they also work in specialty details, detective, motorcycle officers, helicopter pilots, they are throughout the department in specialty details, as well as patrol division.

Ted Simons
>> if someone's watching right now and thinking, this may be something I’m at least interested in, we have a website and more information for them?

Scot Finical
>> we do, our phone is 602-534-9000. our website is phoenixpolicereserve.org, and they will see the information they need to learn more about the reserve division.

Ted Simons
>> last question: personally for you, is it rewarding?

Scot Finical
>> it's incredibly rewarding. it gives us an opportunity to really help people that sometimes don't have the resources to help themselves. at the end of the shift you feel incredibly fulfilled.

Ted Simons
>> thank you so much for joining us on "horizon" and telling us about this valuable program. thank you so much.

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