They may look like full-fledged police officers, but they aren’t–at least, not yet.
And they have made a big impact on the Carthage Police Department.
“Having these young people available is just a tremendous help to the overall staff,” explained Lieutenant Michael Banes.
What Banes is talking about is the department’s auxiliary officer program.
It started on a trial basis a couple of years ago as a way to encourage the next generation of police officers in Carthage.
And, Banes says that’s exactly what’s happening.
“Our very first auxiliary officer is attending the Missouri Southern Police Academy this fall and he graduates in December,” Banes continued. “He’ll move into our field training and be a full time law enforcement officer.”
The program gives auxiliary officers, that don’t carry a weapon on the job, a taste of the occupation is really all about before they spend years in college getting a degree in an occupation that may not really be for them in the long run.
“The program’s basically designed to give young people interested in a law enforcement career the opportunity to work part time here and take calls that are important, but do not require a commissioned officer response,” Banes added.
Banes says it’s worth it for the department, even if program participants don’t want to stay with the department on a long-term basis.
“One of our auxiliary staff has a career goal to work at the Missouri State Highway Patrol and we’re all in on helping that process happen,” said Banes.