Local News

Reserve Call-Ups Could Create Local Police Shortages

Posted September 26, 2001 9:58 a.m. EDT

— The Pentagon has called thousands National Guard reservists to serve in the nation's fight against terrorism. Most of those people have regular jobs, including work as police officers.

The Raleigh Police Department could lose a significant number of officers to the effort. Now it is making plans to overcome staffing shortages if its officers are called to action.

Raleigh Police Captain Weingarten says police officers are used to a structured environment with lots of discipline. That is what draws many of them to the reserves.

About eight percent of the Raleigh police force could be called for reserve duty, about the same number who served in the Gulf War.

Losing officers to the reserves can have a severe effect on the department. It cannot hire to fill the positions, but the department does try to fill the vacancies already available.

Working with a thinner force also requires somewhat of a balancing act.

"One platoon, for instance, that's working in field operations may lose more people than another platoon. We just transfer people around to even up the platoon numbers," says Weingarten.

North Carolina is one of 16 states where reservists have been called to action. However, reservists from the Raleigh Police Department have not been called to serve yet.

Many reservists will be used to fill security and law enforcement jobs across the country. Others will be used in the fight against terrorism overseas.