Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma will be sponsoring its first Reserve Peace Officer Training Academy on April 4.

WYANDOTTE— The Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma (ESTO) will be sponsoring its first Reserve Peace Officer Training Academy on April 4.

The Academy will be approximately seven months long. It will meet on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Eastern Shawnee Tribal Police Department. The Academy is free and normally costs $300-$400 per person. A law enforcement department or agency must sponsor each cadet.

Individuals who pass the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) full-time Basic Academy will be state certified reserve officers.

David Sergeant, Eastern Shawnee Tribe Community Policing Officer, has been involved in law enforcement for more than 20 years and will help provide the training. He will be serving as the Reserve Academy Coordinator and instructor. Sergeant helped organize the class and will have several instructors from all areas of law enforcement.

A few agencies that will be involved are the District Attorney’s Office in Ottawa County, judges, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the Quapaw Tribal Marshals and the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department. This Academy will be a community-wide effort.

A reserve police officer is either a volunteer or paid worker.

“To me, reserves are someone that are very valuable to the department,” Sergeant said. “You cannot run a department without them. They have the same skills as full-time officers.”

The Eastern Shawnee Tribe is sponsoring the Academy and will be providing the facility and the training.

“This is something that the Eastern Shawnee is paying me as an instructor,” Sergeant said. “Chief Glenna Wallace is a very good supporter of the police department, and she’s an educator herself. Anytime you get to educate yourself, she is 100 percent on board. We’re very lucky to have her.”

Chief Wallace of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe said the Academy is an opportunity to give back to the surrounding communities.

“Community policing means it’s all inclusive and we want to serve,” Wallace said. “I suppose, as a leader, I always subscribe to the servant leadership philosophy. In my opinion, this is servant leadership. You do everything you can for others and in turn, we’re all better off because of that.”

The tribe is known for being progressive and venturing into “never done before” territory. For example, the ESTO is the first tribe in the state to offer driver’s education.

“We’ve learned that we have a little bit more confidence in ourselves, that we can do things and just because it’s never been done before is not a good excuse,” Wallace said. “It’s not a barrier for us.”

Tami Burnett, Eastern Oklahoma CLEET field representative, will be administering tests and help determine which cadets will receive their certification.

“David absolutely volunteered because he did see the need for it in northeastern Oklahoma,” Burnett said. “As far as CLEET goes, all we do is monitor the Academy to make sure it is up to standards.”

Burnett said other Reserve Academies have been offered in Pryor, Langley and Claremore, but this will be the first one offered by the ESTO. There are approximately 30 cadets enrolled, thus far, and the class has a capacity of 40.

“I like to keep as many people as we can and not lose too many,” Sergeant said. “Usually, if we start with 40, we’ll end with 25. These people have full-time jobs, and they’re doing this on the side.”

Cadets will undergo an array of training including law enforcement driver training, firearms training, traffic, criminal investigation training, defensive tactics training, police tactics, domestic violence and sexual assault training and report writing.

The ones who pass the course will have the same authority as a full-time police officer. The only difference from a reserve and police officer is that a full-time officer took the class for an additional eight weeks.

“Some reserves will get paid, some will not,” Sergeant said. “Some agencies will not have the funding to use, which is why reserves are very important. Several departments cannot function without them.”

There’s also a Bridge Academy if the reserves wish to become a full-time officer.

“CLEET will recognize their reserve commission, add eight more weeks and then they become a full-timer,” Sergeant said. “I never had that opportunity back in the 90s when I applied. They only gave you Reserve CLEET certified and that was it. When I went to a full-time officer, I had to go through the whole 16-week Academy.”

Sergeant said there is always a need for reserve officers, especially in this area.

“Once we complete this, there will be more reserves out there,” Sergeant said. “In law enforcement, training is a big deal and it’s how you grow. The reserves who come through my Academy, I know that they will have the necessary tools they need to graduate and to achieve a long-lasting career.”

To sign-up or for more information, contact Sergeant at 918-533-5320.