DPD Reserves: serving without expectation

As the Dallas Police Department deals with a shortage of police officers, a team of volunteer is helping fill the gap. 

They are armed and carry badges, but work for free.

The 136 Reserve Officers can show up in force in a citywide emergency.

Officer Cedrick Taylor carries a gun, has a DPD badge and the power to arrest bad guys, but he doesn’t get a DPD paycheck.

“The pay is the satisfaction of making sure my city is safe,” said Taylor.

“I've been in a few chases after some bad guys, a challenging, interesting, rewarding when you catch the bad guys,” said Reserve Officer Bobby Debenport.

Thirty reserve officers reported to work after the April Home Depot shooting that killed Officer Rogelio Santander and wounded his partner, Crystal Almedia.

While some answered calls, others helped to corner the suspect Armando Juarez.

Steve Brody, a business owner, has volunteered with DPD for 35-years and heads up the reserve battalion.

“I say we're the best kept secret in town because you can't tell the difference in our uniforms, we can answer a call at your house, and you wouldn't know if it was a volunteer or a fulltime officer,” he said. “Guys in chopper, SWAT positions, embedded, investigators, patrol, bike officers, we're a department within a department.”

Like Clark Kent, the reserve officers have day jobs. Cedrick Taylor is a Junior ROTC teacher at Dallas ISD’s Thomas Jefferson High School.

“For me this is the best of both worlds, I get to do law enforcement and my actual job teaching,” he said.

Other reserves include doctors, lawyers and business owners.

Debenport says he always dreamed of being a Dallas Police officer like his dad, but a great career opportunity took him on a different path.

“Needed the job to get college credits, got on with this little start up called Southwest. 42 years later I'm there, but that age clock is ticking,” he said.

Reserve officers have to go through the same training and certification as paid DPD officers. That takes more than a year to complete on nights and weekends.

”Plenty of crime to fight, but the things that have stayed with me the most, and that I've really taken out of this, are the things you don't think about.,” said DPD Reserve Lt. Christ LaMendola. “It's helping pregnant teenager kicked out of her house by her dad.”
“Going to someone's house telling them their son's not coming home because he was killed in a car wreck. You think if I can deal with those people in a compassionate way, you think maybe I can give something that sticks with them long after I'm gone.”

DPD reserve officers are required to work 16 hours a month. You can click HERE if you’re interested in applying.