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The uncommon heroes of the LAPD Reserves

April 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The story of L.A.'s civilian crime fighters: By day, they're attorneys, pilots, even preachers. By night, they're in police blue, equipped with badges and guns. They're the LAPD's reserve officers, keeping vigil on the streets. These are regular citizens, people just like you and me. But they put on a uniform, and some of them go willingly into harm's way. All for $50 a month and huge sense of accomplishment.

"I quit working. I was looking around for something to do besides play golf," said LAPD Reserve Officer John Engles. "I found out about the reserves, and that's how I wound up here."

"I understand there's a risk with putting on this uniform and walking the streets of Los Angeles, but it's a risk I'm very ready to accept," said Reserve Officer Trevor Ingold.

These are only some of the volunteers -- a lawyer, a retiree, and two former corporate executives.

They make up part of the Reserve Corps at the Hollywood Division, regular citizens giving back to their city by donning the badge of the LAPD.

"This is volunteer work, probably a little bit more to the extreme than regular volunteer work," said Engles.

There are 44 reserve officers in the Hollywood Division. They are part of a unique all-civilian squad that works side by side with regular officers.

"You have to be committed to be reserve -- you have to -- because the training that these ladies and gentlemen do is just tremendous," said Officer Ed Pandolfo.

Ed Pandolfo is the Reserve Coordinator in Hollywood. He says some reservists devote 30 to 50 hours a month.

"To do that type of job, for a citizen, you have to be a special kind of person," said Pandolfo.

Trevor Ingold and John Engles realize there is risk to their volunteer work, but they say it's well worth it.

"We go through exhaustive training just like the regular recruits," said Engles. "The Reserves are designed as an organization that will augment the regular guys."

"You never know what's around the corner when you're doing police work," said Ingold. "That's the intrigue of it. What's the next call? What's the next interaction going to be? That's what kind of keeps me going."

Other reservists provide much-needed support inside the police station.

"When I first started, they were all coming to me for computer advice because I'm more or less computer literate," said Reserve Officer Bruce Remick. "And so they would come after me and say this and that, and I felt I would go home just stoked."

"We get the same training at the Police Academy as they do, so they know they can count on us," said Reserve Officer Jackie Ellis.

There are more than 600 reserve officers department-wide.

LAPD Reserve Police Officer Program

LAPD Reserve Corps at JoinLAPD.com


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