Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee, faced with the prospect of fewer officers because of a city financial crisis, has taken the rare step of requiring anyone applying for a job with the Police Department to first serve as a volunteer reserve. reports the Detroit News. The city’s 2012-13 budget will slash $75 million — or 18 percent — from the police department’s $414 million budget, resulting in the elimination of 380 positions from the force of about 2,600 through attrition and early retirement.
Godbee’s new Enhanced Reserve Program will free up sworn officers to respond to more serious runs. “This gives me an additional pool of people I can tap,” Godbee said. “There were about 1,400 people who expressed interest in becoming a Detroit police officer last year. By having them join the reserves, we can do some moderate screening of them to see if they’re fit for Detroit police service, and give them an opportunity to be part of our organization.” Reservists will help out with special details like traffic control, and conduct foot patrols. Said Godbee: “They carry weapons; they have arrest powers — they’re deputized for lack of a better term. At this point, we have to leverage everything we can.”