Albemarle Police Propose Creation of Auxiliary Force

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Albemarle County's police chief  is proposing the creation of a new force of officers hired from professions outside law enforcement. The auxiliary force would train and prepare volunteers to assist Albemarle’s paid police staff.

The Albemarle County Police Department is looking to bring up to 18 auxiliary officers on board over the next two years. They'd have to meet the same minimum standards as the paid police force.

“It's going back to basics in community policing,” said Colonel Steve Sellers of the Albemarle County police.

Sellers is developing a plan to put community members on the police force.

“We want to entertain more opportunities for citizens to get involved in their police department,” said Sellers.

Sellers proposal would create an Albemarle County auxiliary police force out of volunteers.

“We need to take it up to the next level and that's a professional auxiliary police force,” said Sellers.

The program is part of the county's new geo-policing regional enforcement. It would turn up to 18 trained volunteers into sworn officers. The auxiliary force would assist paid officers with everything from administrative work to crime prevention and major event crowd control.

“One of our goals with geo-policing is to be more proactive on crime prevention strategies and traffic safety strategies,” said Sellers.

Minimum-level auxiliary officers would be uniformed but unarmed. The county would start there and work up to providing firearms training for volunteers.

“Some of the best candidates are those people who chose other professions in their life, but in the back of their mind they always wanted to be a cop,” said Sellers.

Sellers says the auxiliary officers will lift some of the burden from a taxed police force.

“We can't do this job alone. I want to encourage community involvement in getting this job done,” said Sellers.

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors will review the proposal Wednesday and schedule a public hearing. The department is already training its first group of volunteers and could have them sworn in before the end of the year if the proposal is approved.