Pequot Lakes: Police reserve unit marks 10 years
The Pequot Lakes Police Reserve Unit marks 10 years this month of helping keep the Pequot Lakes community safe. "Our agency is about community policing and having reserve officers at events," said police officer Kate Petersen, who is in charge of...
The Pequot Lakes Police Reserve Unit marks 10 years this month of helping keep the Pequot Lakes community safe.
"Our agency is about community policing and having reserve officers at events," said police officer Kate Petersen, who is in charge of the reserve unit. "Having the reserve unit is a huge asset for our department, our community. Without the program, we wouldn't be as successful or as community-oriented as a police department."
"That's why I do it," said Tim Leagjeld, a reserve officer from close to the start of the program. "I love working the community events, the (high school) games, the parades.
"It's just good to have someone else visible," Leagjeld said.
In addition to the Pequot Lakes Police Department's chief, sergeant and four officers, the department employs part-time officers who fill shifts for vacationing officers, and the nine volunteer reserve officers.
"The reserve officers have been a valuable asset to our community," said police chief Eric Klang. "They donate countless hours of volunteer service. Because of the uniqueness of our area we would not be able to provide all the requests for service without their dedicated service."
Besides being present at community events and Pequot Lakes High School activities, reserve officers conduct security checks at homes and businesses, and assist police officers on calls. Their biggest role is being visible at community events.
"The people, for the most part, are appreciative of the fact we're just there," Leagjeld said.
Petersen said the reserve officers provide another pair of eyes in the community.
Reserve officers don't need law enforcement training or experience. Reserve officers may be Central Lakes College students pursuing law enforcement degrees. Or, like Leagjeld, they may be area citizens who want to help their hometown.
"It's a tremendous way to give back to my community," Leagjeld said, noting he hopes the public perceives officers as being approachable. "I love representing the police department, especially in this day and age when there can be so much negative. It's a good feeling to be there to be helpful.
"A lot of little kids grow up wanting to be a police officer. I never did until about 10 years ago," he said.
"I'm very proud of the program," Petersen said.