Los Angeles police officials plan to expand the LAPD’s volunteer reserve program, the Times reports.
The 9,200-strong police force is desperate for more officers but restricted in hiring because of tight budgets. The reserve corps is now at 700 but is authorized for 2,000.
The volunteers wear the same uniforms as paid officers, and they carry guns–which sets them apart from reserves in cities such as New York and Chicago.
But they don’t get a salary. Last year, reserve officers donated time worth an estimated $7 million to the city’s coffers, the equivalent of 104 full time-officers, according to department officials.
Police Chief William J. Bratton has vowed to increase the role of reserves in the department.
“It’s a no-brainer,” LAPD Capt. Rick Webb said. “If you have people who want to work for you for free, go for it.”