Thinking back to this last very hot 4th of July, I often wonder how many people realize the officers in blue directing traffic and closing down streets actually are volunteers.
I’m sure many of you believe they are doing this for a living. Many of those men and women are actually part of the Portage Police Reserves. These tireless volunteers are out there doing a job to help keep our citizens and their guests safe.
They assist Portage Police in many areas of their field work. These dedicated individuals serve and protect on a volunteer basis. There are well over 50 full time police officers and 20 reserve officers to fill in the blanks, so to speak.
Reserve officers are required to go through the Porter County Reserve Police Academy and do many ride-a-longs with regular officers before having the opportunity to get out there and work as a regular officer. Many use the training and experience as a springboard into a regular police career in Portage or elsewhere.
Quite a few of their duties are familiar to the public. They are the ones providing traffic control at our parades, fire and accident scenes. They patrol the neighborhoods and parks on the weekends, Halloween and New Year’s Eve.
They provide security at Portage High School sporting events and high school and middle school dances. The Portage Police Reserves also help process prisoners, transport them to the Porter County jail and juvenile offenders to the juvenile detention center, guard prisoners that are taken to the hospital and provide assistance at protest rallies.
They also have a lighter side to their job including fingerprinting kids at special events like the Bike and Safety Rodeo. This enables police to locate a child quicker with this useful info at their disposal.
The Reserve Officers are also required to maintain their hand gun qualifications and provide maintenance work on their reserve squad cars.
Last, but not least, they help with the daunting task of crowd control during our hot and humid 4th of July parade and fireworks and they shiver with us out in the cold during the annual City Celebration of Christmas parade. Just think about what you were wearing while watching or participating in the Independence Day Parade this year. Probably something light and airy while all our officers were wearing a dark blue uniform with a heavy bullet-proof vest under it. Whew.
This column, by no means, is attempting to show that the Portage Police Department is anything less than the finest in the land, but that it is awesome we have the aid of qualified individuals to enhance their fine work that they do in our community.
Both the Portage Police Department, under the direction of Police Chief Troy Williams, and the Portage Reserves, under the leadership of Chris Segard, deserve genuine kudos for their dedication to our city and its citizens.
Also, I would like to congratulate Sgt. Mark Monks on attaining the honor of Indiana Police Officer of the Year. What a great accomplishment for him and a great feather in our city’s cap. Portage rocks.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.