Middlebury reserve officers serving the community

by April Givens

    Middlebury’s police department stands apart from most other police departments, in part due to the group of reserve police officers who play a significant role in the day to day activity of the department. The Middlebury Police Department has 10 reserve officers, all of whom go through the same training as a full-time police officer. These 10 reserve officers donate their time to keep Middlebury safe.

    A reserve officer’s training requires 40 hours of state mandated training involving firearms, EVOC (emergency vehicle operations course) defensive tactics, criminal law, taser, pepper spray, and traffic stops. These individuals are required to complete this training in order to become a reserve officer, the same as any law enforcement officer.

    The reserve police officers then go through 160 hours of on-the-go job training, but not by themselves. There will be another police officer not far behind, following the reserve officer until he or she feels comfortable, which could take a few months. Every year all officers are required to pass and obtain state requirements for each of these trainings.

    The firearms training takes place at two different shooting ranges in Elkhart County and includes handguns and rifles. The officers are required to score the state’s requirements for passing.

    The unique thing about the reserve police officers of Middlebury is that they are volunteers. Scheduled three set days a week, Friday nights, Saturday morning and Saturday nights, the reserve police officers also fill in when needed. There are many times when the reserve police officers are the only officers on duty. This is not unusual.

    “We train them right. And do not just turn them loose. We make sure they are ready to be out there and they do a great job!” said Middlebury Town Marshal Kevin Miller.

    There is nothing on the reserve police officer’s uniform that says he or she is a reserve officer. The public does not know. These reserve officers patrol, work security, and enforce the law just like a full-time police officer. “In the 24 years I have been around this department, the reserve officers have never embarrassed the department. I need them more than they need me,” Town Marshal Miller added.

    There are seven full-time police officers and the reserve police officers supplement the full-timers, back them up, and are a major asset to the department. Usually you will find one full-time officer and a reserve police officer scheduled together for their shift.

    The requirements are different to be a reserve police officer in other departments, and not all departments have reserve police officers. This is how Middlebury’s police department operates, and it serves the community well.

    “I’ve always wanted to be an officer since I was a kid,” stated Steve Miller, a Middlebury reserve police officer. “”I am here to serve the community. To let the community know we are here and we are driving around, keeping an eye on the community, and keeping it safe.”

    The Middlebury reserve police officers currently are Doug Edlund, Andrew Edlund, John Meadows, Jeff Woodtkey, Steve Miller, Anthony Powell, Laura Perry, Mark Diamond, Rebekah Cooper, and Austin Miller.