Authors: Ross Wolf
Volunteer policing in America is a largely under-studied part of the criminal justice system. Although many different countries throughout the world effectively utilize volunteer police to supplement regular police forces, the United States has had mixed success with diverse types of volunteer law enforcement programs throughout its history. Most American sheriffs are elected, and the implementation of volunteer law enforcement programs in this type of agency is especially interesting considering the community/political relationship. Utilizing data from a nationwide exploratory research survey with 1,525 respondents, the current study examines reserve, auxiliary, and other volunteer law enforcement officers within sheriffs’ agencies. The results of the study show that American sheriffs utilize volunteer law enforcement deputies in a variety of ways. Respondents indicated that most have law enforcement power of arrest, and that most have law enforcement authority to carry a firearm. Demographic information of these volunteers and motivational factors to work as a volunteer law enforcement officer in a sheriff’s department are also reported.
reserve, auxiliary, special, police, volunteer, patrol support, patrol, deputy sheriff, sheriff