Looking for a few good men and women

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s RESERVE DEPUTY PROGRAM recruiting for 2023 class

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

More than two decades ago (2001), Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott established the Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s (RCSD) Reserve Deputy Program as a means of augmenting patrol units with added personnel. Though trained and sworn deputy sheriffs with  RCSD, reserve deputies are all unpaid volunteers who serve shoulder-to-shoulder with full-time deputies in order to protect the citizens of RCSD’s jurisdictional communities. And the department is looking to increase its numbers.

Reserve Deputy Cordell Brown

“We’re looking for committed men and women – who perhaps have full-time jobs in other career fields – but who want to volunteer as a reserve deputy with RCSD,” says Reserve Deputy Marie Waldrop, coordinator-instructor for RCSD’s Reserve Deputy Program – Training Division. “Our next reserve deputy class begins in January 2023, and we’re hoping to recruit 20-plus candidates for that class.”

To become reserve deputies, candidates must complete over 150 hours of law enforcement training: including defensive tactics, firearms, and legal training. They must also pass the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy examination, meeting all of the same physical and training requirements as full-time deputies.

Once sworn, reserve deputies serve a minimum of 240 hours per year with many serving in excess of 350 hours per year.

Currently, 62 reserve deputies serve the citizens of Richland County, working primarily at night and on weekends, supporting RCSD when extra manpower is most needed. “Reserve deputies provide the resources to enable many patrol units to operate as a double unit providing additional backup for the full-time officer,” says Waldrop. “In 2021, the Reserve force worked a total of 15,354 hours.”

Waldrop adds: “We currently have the largest and the best Reserve force in the state of South Carolina.”

Training last seven months. The current class is composed of six candidates, who are scheduled to graduate in January, the same month the new class begins.

“These men and women of our Reserve Deputy Program are critical force multipliers who have proven themselves worthy of the badge and the uniform we all wear,” says Sheriff Lott. “Our Reserve Deputy Program is second to none, and historically many of our reserve deputies have chosen to become full-time deputies. Those who have not, carry with them the reward of having selflessly and valorously served their communities in this truly unique way.” 

Waldrop agrees.

“There are many different ways to serve and give back to your community,” she says. “But when you, in a volunteer capacity, put on a law enforcement uniform and step forward into potentially and often-definitely dangerous situations to serve your community, you are demonstrating a very high level of commitment to others.”

[Pictured – Reserve Deputy Cordell Brown spends time with children.]

– For more information about the Reserve Deputy Program and how you might become one of RCSD’s force multipliers, please email Marie Waldrop at [email protected] or phone (803) 309-2794.