Reserve deputies key players in Webster Parish

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MINDEN, La. (AP) - Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton heads a force of roughly 137 deputies in the various departments of his office. Included in that number are 22 or so deputies tasked with patrolling the length and width of the parish.

While you won’t find them in the budget or numbered among full-time personnel, The Minden Press-Herald reported (http://bit.ly/QAMXEO) there’s another group of about 25 individuals who assist those patrol deputies and have an important role in the sheriff’s law enforcement plan for the parish.

“It takes a special person to be a reserve deputy and do the things we ask of them; to come when we need them no matter what time of the day or night and to do it all for no pay. They do it for no other reason than the desire to serve the people of Webster Parish,” Sexton said.

Reserve deputies perform many of the duties and are held to the same standards of a full-time, commissioned deputy. Reserves are required to have a high school diploma or the equivalent and must undergo a background check.

Each reserve must also complete an in-house training school taught by the department’s supervisors. Reserves must be post certified in firearm use, just like a full-time deputy.

“They are in the public eye just like any other deputy,” Sexton said. “They visit with individuals and get feedback from the communities. For us, they are additional sets of eyes and ears in the parish.”

Chief Deputy Bobby Igo said a chief purpose of reserves is to assist full-time deputies.

“The reserves are a valuable asset. They help in traffic control at accident sites; most deputies you see, especially at a major accident, are reserves. We simply do not have the manpower to place a number of full-time deputies at an accident site, especially if it’s on the interstate, where traffic may be tied up for hours,” Igo said.

Reserves also handle security at many high school sporting events, parades and other events such as fairs. Those duties, Igo said, mean deputies can continue their patrol duties.

“Our reserve deputies actually save money for the taxpayers of Webster Parish,” he said. “From January through March of this year, reserves have worked more than 1,300 hours. That translates to $23,200 we saved by not having to deploy full-time deputies.”

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Information from: Minden Press-Herald, http://www.press-herald.com/

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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