While the Minneapolis Police Reserve functions as part of the Police Department, administration and daily operations of the unit is autonomous. The Reserve Unit falls under the command of the Special Events Section and the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator. The City’s Special Events/Reserve Coordinator is a sworn police sergeant who serves as a liaison between the Reserve Unit and the Police Department Administration.
The Reserve Unit itself has an organizational structure similar to that of the Minneapolis Police Department. The highest ranking officer in the unit is the Chief of the Minneapolis Police Reserve, assisted by a Deputy Chief of Patrol, and a Deputy Chief of Services. Reserve Inspectors, Captains, Lieutenants, and Sergeants oversee officers in sectors that correspond to the Department’s. The Service Division, similar to the Police Department’s Central Services Bureau, handles the administrative needs of the Minneapolis Police Reserve. Reserve officers in the Service Division all have ranks of sergeant and above. They head sections sections responsible for communications, personnel, supply, training, and recruiting.
Reserve officers adhere strictly to a chain-of-command, both in the field and behind the scenes. Opportunities for advancement are available to officers who demonstrate an extraordinary level of performance and commitment to duty as well as a strong leadership aptitude. The Minneapolis Police Reserve encourages personal and professional growth and benefits greatly from the diverse talents of its officers.
The Reserve Unit consists entirely of part-time volunteers who serve without compensation for their time. Members of the unit must work at least 30 hours per calendar quarter, or 120 hours per year. However, many officers work hundreds of hours per year. Most officers in command positions work an equal or greater number of administrative hours behind the scenes as they do “in the street.” A number of senior officers have several decades of service with the Minneapolis Police Reserve.
Many of our officers come from a variety of walks of life seeking a significant way to serve the community of Minneapolis. These officers come from backgrounds in business, human services, health care, finance, IT, skilled trades, writing, education, hospiality, legal, manufacturing, sales and security professions. A number of our officers hope to attain a career in law enforcment in the future. Those who provide exceptional commitment and service can count on a positive job reference fro the reserve.
A Post-War Beginning
The origins of the Minneapolis Police Reserve date back to the years following World War II, when air raid wardens wearing white helmets were a familiar sight on city streets. Formally chartered by the City of Minneapolis in 1952, the Police Reserve operated under the auspices of Civil Defense for nearly four decades. The Police Reserve’s principal duties were emergency preparedness and staffing large community events. Reservists trained for incidents of civil unrest, natural disaster and, if necessary, city-wide evacuation. Large events such as the annual Aquatennial celebration and the Twin Cities Marathon served as training exercises in managing large crowds and automobile and pedestrian traffic.
Over the years, the Police Reserve took on a public relations role in addition to its public safety duties, working alongside and on behalf of the Police Department at smaller neighborhood and church-sponsored events. At the same time, reserve officers took on a greater support role in the Department, assisting sworn officers in non-enforcement duties. The gray/black uniform of reservists was changed to resemble the blue uniform worn by regular police officers. By the 1980s, reserve officers could be found staffing precinct desks and on backup details in marked squad cars during midwatch shifts and performing a variety of auxiliary duties.
In 1989, following the replacement of Civil Defense with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Police Reserve became a fully integrated unit of the Police Department. The duties of reserve officers have continued to change to meet the needs of the Police Department in this new era of community oriented policing and heightened national security. Reserve officers wear the Department’s trademark powder/navy blue uniform and drive the same recognizable squad cars as regular police officers.
2012 marked the sixtieth anniversary of the Minneapolis Police Reserve.
A Diverse Family of Dedicated People
Minneapolis Police Reserve Officers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, occupations, lifestyles, ages, and cultures. The thin blue line crosses all boundaries. Businesspeople, attorneys, mechanics, computer programmers, engineers, bus drivers, physicians, machinists, secretaries, students, and accountants all have worn the badge of the Minneapolis Police Reserve. Officers in their twenties work side-by-side with officers in their sixties. People of color and people not born in the U.S. have proudly put on their blue uniforms to serve their community and their country. Our officers have come from all corners of the city, and two-thirds of reserve officers reside outside of Minneapolis. The strength of this family of dedicated officers comes from an uncommon respect for each other, a shared dedication to public service, and pride in the purpose of reserve policing.
Minneapolis Police Reserve Officers have many reasons for volunteering their time. While some reserve officers are law enforcement students or future students intending to pursue a professional career as a peace officer, most reserve officers are community-minded adults with successful careers in another field (or are retired) who do not aspire to be full-time police officers. Many officers find their part-time career in reserve policing to be a welcome detraction from their professional careers and other involvements in the community, as well as an opportunity to develop leadership and management skills that carry over to their professional lives. One thing is certain: the officers of the Minneapolis Police Reserve represent the very finest of American citizens.
Although a career in reserve policing is not right for every person, everyone has an equal opportunity to apply and show us they can meet our high standards for membership. The Minneapolis Police Reserve is committed to maintaining a culture open to diversity. Women, senior citizens, and members of minority communities are encouraged to apply.