You’ll see them in downtown Waukesha at the , directing traffic and blocking off streets. Later, they’ll be at the providing extra help with traffic flow.
And they all volunteer to do it on a day most Waukesha residents spend with friends and family.
The men and women, ranging from early 20s to late 60s, who serve as reserve officers with the , aren’t paid one cent for their work. Instead, they give their time to the city, which is a great help to the Waukesha Police Department during tough budget cycles.
“There is not an event that they don’t work,” said Sgt. Joe Hendricks, who recently took over as the liaison between the reserve officers and the Police Department. Hendricks estimated that the reserve officers have helped save tens of thousands of dollars in overtime pay.
The reserve officers keep busy in the summer, providing help at Fiesta Waukesha, Freeman Friday Night Live, the Carl Zach Bike Race and Fourth of July festivities. Special events are their “bread and butter,” Hendricks said.
But it’s not just special events. They are there for critical incidents, including when the Evangelical and Reformed United Church of Christ was destroyed by a fire in 2005 and
“Our phones are on 24-7 so they can get a hold of us,” said John Cartwright, who became a reserve officer in 2008.
Some joined the reserves because they are friends with police officers. Others joined after going through the Waukesha Police Department Citizens Police Academy. Ona Metcalf has been a reserve officer with her husband, Tom, for about 10 years after she went through the citizens academy.
Metcalf said her favorite part about being a reserve officer is the group of people she works with. She described them as a family.
“We are really close. There is no bickering or arguing with people,” Metcalf said. “It’s a close-knit group.”
While they are a tight group, Metcalf also described them as an “unknown” group.
“Nobody knows about us, and we have been around for years,” Metcalf said.
Cartwright volunteers for anything and everything he can. He enjoys getting to know the officers through his work as a reserve officer.
“They become family too,” Cartwright said. “When you are in the reserves, you get a better feel for what the cops actually do.”
The reserve officers also go through routine training, where they have learned how to do CPR, citizen emergency traffic control, verbal confrontation and more. They also lead tours of the police department for groups like the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts. Other opportunities available for the reserve officers are ridealongs with Waukesha police officers.
The Waukesha Police Department is looking for additional reserve officers and is accepting applications through the end of July with interviews in August. Contact the police department at 262-524-3833 for more information.