The Dumfries Town Council has approved the formation of a 10-person volunteer police force to augment its police department of one part-time and six full-time officers.
According to Mayor Olney Brawner, the special police force will assume responsibilities, duties and uniforms similar to those of officers in the town's department, except that the arm patch on the uniforms will designate them as "special police." They will carry guns and nightsticks, he said.
The 1.5-square-mile jurisdiction will soon advertise the positions in local newspapers, and officials expect several dozen applications. Several police officers, military personnel and former police officers have expressed interest in the jobs, according to police chief Harvey Anderson.
The volunteer force will be paid only $1 a year to pay for their insurance coverage with the National Sheriffs Association. Volunteers will be trained over a period of three years in the use of firearms, nightsticks and other police procedures and will not join the police department until after their training.
Anderson and police personnel from other jurisdictions will do the training, Brawner said. It will take three years because it will be done on a part-time basis or whenever the trainers can spare the time. The mayor declined to specify a starting date for the new officers.
According to Anderson, applicants trained at the Criminal Justice Academy in Fairfax or Harrisonburg or in the military will be required to take an aptitude test and will be expected to be on the streets sooner than those who would be "starting from scratch."
The special police will have the same duties as those of regular police officers except they will not write traffic tickets, Anderson said. Because the town's bylaws must be changed to accommodate the council's approval of the volunteer force, it may be as long as three months before anyone will be hired, he said.
Applicants will be psychologically tested, Brawner said. A three-member committee will make final recommendations to the council.