Reserve Deputy Sheriff Program
The Kern County Sheriff's Reserve Organization is a volunteer organization made up of 170 active members. The Reserve organization is governed by a Board of Directors, which is elected by the general membership. The Board is responsible for carrying out the business of the organization. The Reserves have a command staff similar to the Sheriff's Office rank structure. The Reserve Organization was incorporated in 1933, one of the few in the state. The organization has its own bylaws, as well as a policy and procedures manual.
In the 1930s and '40s several citizen volunteer groups formed for a variety of law enforcement support activities. Each group was regionalized to a particular population center. These groups were called "auxiliaries."
Little recorded history exists that clearly explains the goals and activities of these groups and very few former members are still around. The groups primarily helped out in any way that the Sheriff or the resident deputies needed them. This might include posse work, search and rescue, guard or surveillance work, or backing a regular deputy; and quite possibly, on some occasions handling calls for service when there was no deputy available.
Sheriff John E. Loustalot is generally given credit for forming the Reserve Organization. In 1939 Sheriff Loustalot brought most of the auxiliary groups under the masthead of the newly formed Reserve Organization. It appears the purpose was to establish solidarity and uniformity among these volunteer groups; train them for law enforcement work; and provide much needed assistance to the always understaffed Sheriff's Office at a relatively low cost to taxpayers.
Most of the auxiliary groups disappeared within a few years of the formation of the Reserve Organization. Some groups such as the Westside Auxiliary (Taft), lingered until the early 1950s, having been revitalized through wartime needs. However, eventually it too became a unit in the Reserve Organization. The first Reserve academy started in 1940 with 35 members graduating in 1941. One of their main duties was to man the air raid lookout stations during World War II. After the war Reserves were kept with the Sheriff's Office and given more training, but they worked special events and patrol only.
Today their duties are unlimited. Reserves have been used to replace deputies on vacation or to fill vacancies. Some Reserves are paid for "extra-help" positions.
What is a Reserve today? A Reserve is a volunteer who puts in a minimum of 200 hours per year, 30 of which must be at the Kern County Fair. The Reserves have to keep up with training, attend meetings, keep a budget, and provide primary security at the rodeo and the fair. Reserves must continually qualify in the use of a handgun and shotgun, and train in the areas of baton, CPR, and first aid. Each Reserve is on standby for emergencies. These duties are in addition to their regular jobs and sometimes at a sacrifice to their families.
To qualify to be a Reserve, each candidate must pass a written test, an oral interview, a background investigation, a physical examination, and a psychological evaluation. They must attend a two semester P.O.S.T. certified academy and successfully complete field evaluation. Reserves pay for their own uniforms and some equipment.
The Reserve Organization helps to protect the community as well as save the taxpayers a lot of money by donating their time. The Reserve Organization donates between 40,000 and 64,000 hours of volunteer time each year.
There is a vast range of people who make up the Reserve Organization, from businessmen and women to those who plan a career in law enforcement.
In May the Reserves plan and produce the Stampede Days Rodeo, in May, the former Buck Owens Rodeo. A street fair is held to promote the rodeo. The proceeds from the rodeo support the organization's yearly operating expenses and purchase of new equipment. Part of the revenue from the rodeo goes to charity and two scholarship funds. The scholarships were created by the Reserves to assist students with an interest in a law enforcement career.
In 1990 the Sheriff's Office and Bakersfield Police Department Reserves hosted the California Annual Reserve Peace Officers Conference. Reserves came from all over the state for the local training and displays.
There are four Reserves who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Robert Grabner lost his life in a vehicle accident. The other three reserves were also Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue members who lost their lives while trying to save the lives of others. They are Lansing Warren, Ray Mallory, and Ray Bockman.
Today, the Kern County Sheriff’s Reserve Organization stands as a highly trained, dedicated group of men and women. Their role as a citizen and deputy transcends the average person's commitment to order and well-being in our society.
The rewards for these special people are the experiences of helping and protecting their county and their fellow citizens.