Reserve Officer Program
The Rhea County Sheriff’s Department has a Reserve Officer program that allows specially trained volunteers to give time back to the community assisting in the day to day operation of the Rhea County Sheriff’s Department. Reserve Officers must qualify with their firearm and attend regular in-service training and classroom instruction to participate in the program. The Rhea County Sheriff’s Department through N.C.I.C. and background checks screens potential volunteers.
They are also screened through established officers, recommendations of community and church leaders and personal references who have worked with the individual and have knowledge of them on a personal level. Participants must be found to have a clear criminal background and be recognized for good moral character and standing in the community. Participants must also be 18 years of age, possess a valid Tennessee driver’s license and have at minimum a high school diploma or G.E.D.
Volunteers who meet minimum requirements and are selected for the program are allowed to ride with a full-time officer while on patrol and participate in most calls or stops within the direction of the full-time officer. Volunteers are also allowed to donate time within the Rhea County Jail assisting corrections officers in their daily duties including transports to and from other facilities, hospitals and court. They also may work in the court system, either as courthouse security or as a reserve bailiff.
Rhea County Sheriff’s Department also sponsors an explorer program. The explorer program serves to allow high school students the opportunity to participate with the Rhea County Sheriff’s Department as an observer. Students who demonstrate an interest in criminal justice and are accepted in the program are allowed to ride with full-time officers on a limited basis observing the day-to-day routine of a patrol officer. They may also be assigned to the court system, process servers or the Administrative Office.
This program allows the student a unique opportunity to learn from officers and court personnel on a first-hand basis, hopefully helping them to determine if a career in law enforcement is the appropriate choice for them. They must abide by curfews, maintain their homework, have permission from their parents and school and have a clear background in the juvenile court system. Spaces are limited and each applicant must be accepted by the Rhea County Sheriff’s Department to participate each year.