Hawley Police Reserve - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Hawley Police Reserve

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A booming Midwest economy is driving rapid growth throughout the Red River Valley and surrounding areas, and with that growth comes the need for more police officers. 

Filling the increased need on a small-town budget can be a challenge, but police in Hawley, Minnesota, say they're prepared. Valley News Team reporter Ashley Bishop traveled to Hawley to see how a new neighborhood watch group is helping the growing town.

In roughly seven years, Hawley, Minn. officials say the population has nearly doubled. With more people to protect and serve, the Hawley Police Department has found a way for everyday citizens to contribute to the community by starting a volunteer police reserve-what Hawley Police Chief Jimmy Macon calls "an extra set of eyes in the community."

Applicants to the new program must be at least 19 years old, be able to commit at least ten hours per month to the department, and pass an application and interview process. If approved, they must then complete 40 hours of basic training and up to four hours of additional training each month.

"Due to budget crunch, [the reserve program] is a great resource to have," Chief Macon explains. "You can use them on minor calls that we get, versus major calls, so that would free the officers up."

Citizen officers are able to help police staff by controlling traffic, conducting welfare checks, and providing additional security at community events.

Reservist Angela Tait says she joined "Because I want to be a part of the community, and I think reservist can help a lot if you don't have the officers around."

"If you want to serve the community, it's a great thing to do," reservist Randy Corneliussen agrees. "Everyone in the town likes it."

Hawley already has ten reservists to assist its eight police officers, and community members are noticing the difference.

"Within the last two weeks, we've noticed them checking our building and leaving a gold piece of paper just saying that they've checked the doors and for the safety and everything is locked," says Evie Wener, supervisor for Sanford Health Clinic Hawley. "This is the first time-I've been here 30 years, and we've never had that before."

Hawley is still accepting applications for reservists. Moorhead and Fargo don't have a reserve program but do have a volunteer program that allows people to help in the community. Those interested in volunteering are asked to contact visit their respective department.

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